Poll: Sponsors Snub Tiger Woods, but Consumers Remain Loyal

After reports surfaced of Tiger Woods’ infidelity, many of his multimillion dollar endorsement deals quickly soured.

Friday, the 33 year-old golf superstar (listed as one of B.E.’s Top 50 Most Powerful African American in Sports in March 2005) announced on his Website that he was taking “an indefinite break from professional golf. I need to focus my attention on being a better husband, father, and person.”

Following the statement, razor maker Gillette, Woods largest sponsor, announced they would support his desire for privacy by limiting his role in their marketing programs. AT&T and watchmaker Tag Heuer plan to spend the next few weeks assessing its endorsement relationship with Woods, while EA Sports and Nike continue to stand by him. Gatorade and Accenture have both terminated their sponsorship.

Though some of Woods’ sponsors are distancing themselves from him, results from a BlackEnterprise.com poll reveal that the majority of respondents won’t let the controversy influence the products they buy. Seventy-eight percent said that the allegations of Woods’ numerous extramarital affairs has no impact on their purchasing decisions, while 9% said they would be less likely to purchase products endorsed by him, 2% said they will be more likely to purchase products endorsed by him. Meanwhile, 11% responded, “What controversy?”

Roy S. Johnson, editor-in-chief of Men’s Fitness Magazine says he is not surprised by the results. “Most people who support Tiger and what he stands for on the golf course will continue to support him as long as he continues to show he is becoming a better person and continues to not just play well, but dominate,” says Johnson. “His career is not over; he’ll play again within a year. He’s clearly been humbled.”

The results are in:

Does the current controversy surrounding Tiger Woods:
— Have no impact on your purchasing decisions 78%
— Make you more likely to purchase products endorsed by him 2%
— Make you less likely to purchase products endorsed by him 9%
— What controversy? 11%

BlackEnterprise.com conducted the poll between Dec. 7 and Dec. 14.