Tiger Woods, TaylorMade signs apparel deal after Nike split
Tiger Woods and TaylorMade have made it official. The golfer has agreed to create a new clothing, footwear and lifestyle brand with the Carlsbad, California company following his recent split with Nike.
The brand, Sun Day Red, will be available exclusively online starting in May. “Life changes and this is an important transition and I wanted to have a brand that I was proud of in the future,” said Tiger.
Woods says the name of the brand “Sun Day Red” is a tribute to the fact that he always wears red on Sundays. The tiger logo is a tribute to the 15 majors he has worn during his career.
TaylorMade and Woods announced the news Monday night at a press event in Pacific Palisades, California, ahead of the PGA Tour’s Genesis Invitational, an event he hosts..
“It’s the right time,” said Woods, appearing in a cashmere sweater from the new brand.
Woods’ relationship with TaylorMade dates back to 2017, when the two signed an equipment deal that allowed him to play with the brand’s driver, fairway woods, irons and wedges.
Woods said he was courted by other companies but trusted TaylorMade in their ability to “do it right.”
TaylorMade CEO David Abeles said Woods has been an inspiration to his team, including his discipline and meticulous approach to product design.
The new brand includes an entirely new company with a dedicated headquarters and staff dedicated to its development, Abeles said.
“TaylorMade has no influence on this brand. Its brand stands alone and is independent of TaylorMade,” said Abeles.
Last month, Woods announced his split from longtime apparel partner Nike after 27 years. Woods’ agent, Mark Steinberg, told CNBC at the time that the golfer had decided not to renew with Nike.
The 15-time majors winner’s brand exposure today is lower than it was at the height of his career. Woods has been plagued by a series of injuries since his 2021 car accident near Los Angeles, in which he suffered multiple leg injuries. Since then, the 48-year-old has made rare appearances at major golf tournaments, and his play has been erratic.
Still, the deal is still a major win for TaylorMade. Woods still has a lasting legacy, experts say, and continues to draw large crowds as fans hope to catch a glimpse of one of the greatest golfers of all time.
“Michael Jordan is still Michael Jordan, and Air Jordans are still doing great,” said Eric Smallwood, president of the Apex Marketing Group, bringing in the basketball Hall of Famer for comparison.
Apex has overseen Woods’ brand exposure throughout his career. Smallwood said the golf TaylorMade deal would be a “huge lift” for his brand.
Although Woods is rarely seen on the golf course, he has taken ownership of a new technology-focused indoor golf league with Rory McIlroy called TGL. That is expected to start next year and he has a broadcast deal on ESPN, which could be a big boost for TaylorMade.
Speculation surrounding the Woods-TaylorMade partnership has mounted for months. TaylorMade created a new LLC called TaylorMade Lifestyle Ventures last March, according to Josh Gerben, a trademark attorney at Gerben Law. Then in June, the company began filing trademarks including SUNDAY RED, a logo for SUN DAY RED, a tiger logo and a tiger logo with the letters S, D, R.
Gerben told CNBC that TaylorMade apparently filed with the LLC as a way to give Woods equity in the new company.
“I thought it was a very unique structure,” he said. “In an athlete sponsorship deal, you rarely see a new entity created just to have that.”
Representatives for both Nike and Woods were not immediately available for comment on the deal.
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