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« Rory's All In With Nike | Main | No AT&T Pro-Am For Johnny Football »

"This sews up golf for Nike through the next generation."

Steve DiMeglio has reaction to the Rory-Nike deal...on the eve of the announcement set for 9:30 ET Monday.

Rick Horrow, a visiting sports marketing expert at Harvard Law School and the host of Bloomberg TV's Sportfolio, got a little carried away:

"This is a win-win-win-win," Horrow said. "It's good for Nike because they will wrap up the presumptive apparent heir to Tiger Woods, and McIlroy looks like he has the wherewithal to pass Nicklaus' record of 18 majors. This confirms Nike's ability to control the world of sports marketing and define their brand. This sows up golf for Nike through the next generation.

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Reader Comments (62)

I'm not sure what I find more funny. A Harvard Law Grad writing "sows up" rather than "sews up", or his suggestion McIlroy will surpass Jack's major count.
01.14.2013 | Unregistered CommenterMatthewM
Wow Rusell Hennley is wearing the swoosh too.
01.14.2013 | Unregistered CommenterPABoy
Won't change their inferior product line.
01.14.2013 | Unregistered Commenterghost Golfer
Sounds like an early call to me.
Speculation about the future of golf greatness? Hey, what could go wrong?
01.14.2013 | Unregistered CommenterWillie
have yet to meet a golfer in 20 years that buys golf equipment based on who they sponsor. most buy based on price and other player's opinions.
01.14.2013 | Unregistered Commentermorphy699
Very awkward introductory press conference now airing on Golf Channel.
01.14.2013 | Unregistered CommenterMedia maven
@ morphy699, I would somewhat agree, but along with price I do think a lot of golfers buy based on feel as well. Taylor Made are not the cheapest clubs in any shops, but they outsell everyone by a ton from what I've seen, so there's more to it than just price. The unfortunate thing for Nike is that their clubs have never felt all that good.

Do we really need to comment on the guy making the early call on 'Rors' beating Jack's record?
01.14.2013 | Unregistered CommenterPress Agent
oh and;

You reap what you sow.
01.14.2013 | Unregistered CommenterPress Agent
Extended coverage on Golf Channel; of course they don't criticize the whole spectacle of it much, with Nike being a big advertiser they don't touch that aspect. Cindy Davis was a stiff.
01.14.2013 | Unregistered CommenterMedia maven
Yawn, good for Rory I guess. Wonder what the terms actually were (not near reported amounts)
01.14.2013 | Unregistered CommenterElf
In a way, Tiger's prominence with Nike might have backfired on a net basis.

Personally I have never bought a Nike club - just don't like the feel at all. And, some of the appearance aspects have been less than pleasing compared to the TaylorMade/Callaway/Ping/Titleist offerings.

If someone did show up with mostly Nike clubs in their bag, it would just look like they were fans of Tiger's. Honestly, it would look like that. He is that polarizing.

That said, it has been only the rare sighting over the last dozen years where someone would have Nike products in their bag and usually it was something like their hybrids, a few models that were well-accepted, or the Slingshots which, even though they were Nike, were definitely not used by Tiger.

I my opinion, Nike Golf had a more universal brand appeal pre-Tiger (I know it was just clothes and shoes before that - but it was considered a modern alternative to the older brands that were getting very stale by the early 1990s).
01.14.2013 | Unregistered CommenterHard by the Sea
As a post-script - when Tiger was with Titleist clubs, he was positioned mostly as another staff player - one of a group. And, Titleist didn't make any Tiger-specific equipment.

With respect to Nike, they build products for him - ie the TW brand and clubs that were modeled after his preferences. As a result, even though Nike had a stable of other staff players as well, they all looked like they were wearing Tiger's clothes and playing with Tiger's equipment.
01.14.2013 | Unregistered CommenterHard by the Sea
I honestly don't think they are interested in selling clubs. They are interested in increasing brand-recognition by covering Rory in swooshes, which will further drive their multi-billion dollar apparel and shoes business. Not many on here may play Nike clubs, but I'll bet most everyone has a piece of Nike apparel in their closet, even if it's a pair of cross-trainers. It's marketing for their entire brand, not just their golf line. Honestly, is anybody on here qualified to tell Nike how better to market themselves? They are the apex predator of sports-brand marketing.
01.14.2013 | Unregistered CommenterRES
Alan Shipnuck writes: For Nike the deal is a no-brainer. It wants to own a piece of the dominant athlete in every sport and McIlroy, 23, is clearly that guy in golf. (In May 2012, London-based sports business magazine SportsPro rated McIlroy as the second most marketable athlete in the world, behind Brazilian soccer star Neymar.) So Nike can now pair the widely admired lad from Northern Ireland with longtime brand ambassador Tiger Woods, whose star power has been dimmed not only by his sex scandal of three years ago but also by the diminishment of his on-course prowess.

If a Shackelfordian blogger wrote that, @DTF would be demanding that they produce fully audited financial statements backing up the claim.
@morphy699 Fred Couples sold the crap out of Ashworth in the 80-90's as well as single handedly fueled the
casual style shoe craze that every other brand has now copied. As much as I dislike Nike golf apparel, I think it's pretty
safe to say Tiger has sold a bit as well. Been to a Roger Dunn's lately?
01.14.2013 | Unregistered CommenterP-Dog
Strangely I was in the mall yesterday. Couldn't avoid it. Saw an overweight, sixty-ish guy in sweat pants and gut protruding through an ill-fitting sweatshirt. He was topped off in a TW cap. There's your reason.
01.14.2013 | Unregistered CommenterAverage Golfer
Nike doesn't care if they sell golf clubs...they care about selling the swoosh, the image, the brand.
01.14.2013 | Unregistered CommenterBobby D
When my youngest was in middle school (she turns 21 next month) I did a ''what my dad does'' presentation to her class ( I owned a company doing promotional products)--As a ''starter'', to make the class aware of how much logos are entrenched in our minds, I asked the kids what they thought the most identifiable logo in the world was, fully expecting to hear ''Coca Cola'', and overwhelmingly, I heard the Nike ''swoosh''--- the kids had bought in to it.
01.14.2013 | Unregistered Commenterdigsouth
From SportsPro Magazine

The World's Most Marketable Athletes 2012:

1 Neymar Brazilian Soccer
2 Rory McIlroy British Golf
3 Lionel Messi Argentinian Soccer
4 Usain Bolt Jamaican Athletics
5 Christiano Ronaldo Portuguese Soccer
6 Blake Griffen American Basketball
7 Novak Djokovic Serbian Tennis
8 Sebastian Vettel German Motorsport
9 Tim Tebow American Football
10 Yani Tseng Taiwanese Golf
11 Alex Ovechkin Russian Hockey
12 Lewis Hamilton British Motorsport
13 Caroline Wozniacki Danish Tennis
14 Kevin Durant American Basketball
15 Manny Pacquiao Filipino Boxing
16 Mahendra Singh Dhoni Indian Cricket
17 Shaun White American Snowboarding
18 Maria Sharapova Russian Tennis
19 Lebron James American Basketball
20 Bubba Watson American Golf
21 Jeremy Lin American Basketball
22 Mark Cavendish British Cycling
23 Sergio Perez Mexican Motorsport
24 Dwayne Wade American Basketball
25 Jack Wilshere British Soccer
26 Yu Darvish Japanese Baseball
27 Rafeal Nadal Spanish Tennis
28 Michael Phelps American Swimming
29 Mesut Ozil German Soccer
30 Andrew Luck American Football
31 Robert Griffen III American Football
32 Lindey Vonn American Skiing
33 Evgeni Malkin Russian Hockey
34 Tom Brady American Football
35 Victoria Azarenka Belarusian Tennis
36 Andy Murray British Tennis
37 Anderson Silva Brazilian MMA Fighter
38 M.C. Mary Kom Indian Boxing
39 Lin Dan Chinese Badminton
40 Yohan Blake Jamaican Athletics
41 Logan Morrison American Baseball
42 Carmelo Anthony American Basketball
43 Lucas Brazilian Soccer
44 Hope Solo American Soccer
45 Dale Earnhardt Jr American Motorsport
46 Jon Jones American MMA Fighter
47 Tiger Woods American Golf
01.14.2013 | Unregistered Commentersgolfer
Relative to brand awareness how many people out in the big ol' world are going to see a picture of Rory in his new gear and think....

...."wow, that's a cool little logo there on his hat and shirt, never seen it before, let me go check that company out".

Maybe 5? Or less?

The $250,000,000 seems to have gotten lost in the wind....

Imagine how low Russell Henley would have shot in Hawaii if his equipment wasn't "inferior". Instead of making birdies on the last 5 holes he probably would have birdied the entire back-9!!

Speaking of back-9, whatever happened to that back-9 network that was going to revolutionize golf?!?
01.14.2013 | Unregistered CommenterDTF
I would agree with RES - Nike's signing Rory is to help their apparel sales primarily. The margin on that line is much more lucrative than the equipment and apparel can be turned over (e.g. new design every year) to help defend the high price. Equipment much less so. As to the dollar value of the contract, I imagine it must be huge in order for Rory to sign on to use the new ball right away. At the professional level, they seem to be much more reluctant to change the ball than change putter/driver so I am guessing here Nike really had to pry Rory away from Titleist balls with a huge payout.
01.14.2013 | Unregistered Commenternguyenvuminh
@nguyenvuminh - Rumor is that Tiger has been playing a Bridgestone ball with Nike stamped on it for a number of years.

Also, when he originally signed with Titleist, they essentially made him copies of the Mizuno irons that he was playing before.

Finally, Scotty Cameron built a putter for him based on the Ping Anser he used as an Amateur.

So, it would not be beyond possibilities that Rory will still be using a bunch of "Titleist" equipment/balls for a while. As Rory said a couple of months ago "all this stuff comes from the same factory."
01.14.2013 | Unregistered CommenterSpiced Rum
"Reap what you sow"

Excellent, Press Agent.

Another ruined keyboard . . . I should know better by now, than to read comments on this blog with coffee cup to mouth.
01.14.2013 | Unregistered CommenterLudell Hogwaller
Can we put this in plain English? Nike CEO Phil Knight is nothing more than a star-fugger. The company's slavish devotion to signing a particular sport's most prominent athlete certainly must produce a significant impact on sales (re: the near-riots accompanying the introduction of a new Jordan Nike shoe even today) but obviously not at every level (see: Tiger Woods.)

Nike's insistence of placing athletes on a pedestal can be viewing at company headquarters in Beaverton, Oregon where various buildings are named after paid endorsers including Mike Schmidt, Nolan Ryan, John McEnroe, Joe Paterno, Joan Benoit-Samuelson, Alberto Salazar, Bo Jackson, Michael Jordan, Dan Fouts and Steve Prefontaine, to nanme a few.

McIlroy isn't being signed to catapult the golf brand to lofty heights..... it's simply part of the overall marketing strategy to get attention. (And thank you, Golf Channel, for willing falling in line.) This also helps detract from the fact that Nike actually manufacturers little or no product in the U.S., preferring, instead, to farm that work out to factories in Indonesia, China, Taiwan, India, Thailand, Vietnam, Pakistan, Philippines, and Malaysia.

And just WHO buys all this Nike golf stuff that they're apparently selling? I have yet to pick up a game with anyone who brought along anything by Nike.... excepting the shoes, of course.
01.14.2013 | Unregistered CommenterBenSeattle

In my group(s), decidedly average, there's a fair representation of Nike clothes, heavy on tech shirts. A smattering of Nike balls in the $20 range, probably from a Dick's sale. Plenty of shoes as you mentioned, although not the TWs that can mix with a tux. Craploads of swoosh gloves and hats, so I'd say they're doing OK.

*I prefer discount Ashworth cotton. I don't play well if I'm loose and can't see my sweat.
01.14.2013 | Unregistered CommenterAverage Golfer
Ben -

I don't know if you play much with juniors but both Nike equipment and apparel are quite popular with the sub-18 year old crowd, at least in the Southwest... Rick
01.14.2013 | Unregistered CommenterRickABQ
Sales in Nike's golf division are about $700 million. By comparison, Acushnet was about $1.2 billion at the time they went private.

So, while I personally don't utilize anything in their golf line, somebody somewhere is buying something!

Wait, I do often play golf in a pair of Gore-Tex lined Nike Pegasus running shoes! Oh, and there is the Slingshot hybrid I found in a thrift shop for $5, put on a new grip so got $8 in it now, best hybrid I've ever hit. Y'all should try forewarned, they are expensive in eBay. Never seen a 6-7 year old retail club retain as much resale value as these Slingshot hybrids.
01.14.2013 | Unregistered CommenterDTF
The Titleist clubs they made specifically for Tiger as well as Phil were incredible

The original Nike balls we played on tour, WERE made by Bridgestone for Nike, as were the
original retail balls.

Bridgestone and Nike at that time had a ridiculous number of balls on the USGA approval list.

I had 4 versions of the ball I used. All had a little different spin or launch angle. Amazing really.

Running to a meeting, need to sew some things up :)
01.14.2013 | Unregistered CommenterPat Burke
Oh, and one more thing. I just caught a few minutes of this overblown announcement, complete with Actual Journalists pretending to be interested in hyping Nike's latest to-do. This was followed by a "welcome" video featuring Tiger and others, but concluding with Phil Knight himself... a guy who simply REFUSES to remove his Darth Vader sunglasses even indoors. Phil Knight, the same guy who in the face of mountains of evidence stood by that arrogant, lying, cheating scumbag Lance Armstrong until the very end.

Nice company you're keeping, Rory.
01.14.2013 | Unregistered CommenterBenSeattle

From Star Wars, Phil Knight reminds me more of Emperor Palpatine:
01.14.2013 | Unregistered CommenterRob

I think it has less to do with the company he keeps and more to do with the size of the checks the company cuts.
01.14.2013 | Unregistered CommenterCharlieG
Ror's and Notah are brothers in arms now huh? Both are inner circle guys...
01.14.2013 | Unregistered CommenterDTF
Fairly Liberal use of the term athlete on that list.
01.14.2013 | Unregistered CommenterLigerToods
Liger Toods- Yep-- some people think soccer players are athletes.

(settle down, yall--- just trying to get all my non-US friends riled up)

Didn't see one rodeo name on that list, and that's ashamed, but we are talking name recognition for the purposes of selling pickles and floor polish, and shit like that, so they wouldn't do it anyway. .

That dude with the sunglasses looked just rude. I can't stand it when golfers 1) don't remove their sunglasses when they are being interviewed, and 2) wear ther golf ''uniforms'' when they are not playing- for example, when they come in the studio on TGC- the coolest nongolf clothes to date was Hunter Mahan, who I have learned to like sine then and since he quit mumbling when he speaks- though he has very poor taste in sunglasses.

sorry for any typos- sticking keys and no reading glasses
01.14.2013 | Unregistered Commenterdigsouth
@Spiced Rum - When it comes to golf balls, there are only a handful of mfr of the ball. Bridgestone, Sumitomo, etc. but they are under confidential contract to make balls to particular specifications (materials, appearance, etc.) of Taylor Made, Nike, Callaway, etc. These mfrs are large chemical companies that, besides having the plants to make the balls, help provide R&D services to develop new materials and balls for the sports equipment companies as those sports equipment companies come up with new designs that address their athletes' requests. Kinda like the perfume industry.
01.14.2013 | Unregistered Commenternguyenvuminh
Diggie, you and me both. I try and avoid "Moaning Drive" with the same fervor that I shun peanut butter and sewage sandwiches but when I see a nice kid like Ryan Moore sitting on set with an "ADAMS GOLF" hat clamped on his head, I can only shake my head at the current generation. Uou enter the grillroom at Sahalee with your little ballcap on and I guarantee a fellow member is going to come over and set you straight: "Sorry, no hats indoors."

Last week at CHURCH it was the same deal; some guy in his 40's, sitting with his wife, contently wearing his ball cap through the Entire Service.

Where's Arnold Palmer.... he'd set them BOTH straight.

Oh and can anybody get the word to Johnny Miller that already in 2013 we're Officially SIck of the now-cliche phrase "baby draw?" Okay, Johnny, he doesn't hit a hook... it moves less than that -- you know, like a ball that draws. (What's a "baby draw," a half-yard hook?) Sheesh.
01.14.2013 | Unregistered CommenterBenSeattle
Ben, if the money was right Arnold would wear a Callaway hat at an audience with the Pope!
01.14.2013 | Unregistered CommenterDTF
<< Ben, if the money was right Arnold would wear a Callaway hat at an audience with the Pope! >>

Good line, but not accurate. At least note if His Holiness is granting that audience indoors. (Mainly because Arnie has more money than the Vatican.)

Apparently, AP isn't shy about getting into the face of some par-busting hotshot and saying at Bay Hill "You're coming back tomorrow with a shave, right?"
01.14.2013 | Unregistered CommenterBenSeattle
Trust me, Arnold would take the money and wear the hat.

As for "sow", I think it was used properly.

From the Merriam-Webster website:

Definition of SOW

-> intransitive verb
1: to plant seed for growth especially by scattering
2: to set something in motion : begin an enterprise

-> transitive verb
1a : to scatter (as seed) upon the earth for growth; broadly : plant 1a
b : to strew with or as if with seed
c : to introduce into a selected environment : implant
2: to set in motion : foment <sow suspicion>
3: to spread abroad : disperse

I'd change the headline back... Either that or modify the source accordingly, they may as well match up.
01.14.2013 | Unregistered CommenterDTF

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