Rory McIlroy is expected to confirm the rumored Nike Sponsorship deal in the near future. This mega deal is expected to reach upwards of about $150 million over ten years, joining Tiger Woods as Nike’s biggest golf sponsorship. Woods, memorably collected $40 million in 1996 as an untested 20 year old, but more than fulfilled Nike’s investment, prompting Nike to increase that amount to $105 million in 2001, after completing the Tiger Slam, winning four straight majors from the 2000 U.S Open to 2001 Masters.
Nike will undoubtedly request branding rights, causing McIlroy to change equipment for the first time since turning professional (Titleist to Nike). McIlroy is clearly an obvious appeal to Nike with his marketable young exuberant personality and clean cut image, but also Nike’s constant desire to invest in the top athletes in their respective sports. Current Nike Sponsorships include Lebron James, Drew Brees, Rafael Nadal, Derek Jeter, and Alexander Ovechkin.
If McIlroy continues the pace he is currently on, then Nike will no doubt be able to justify a massive deal such as the speculated $150 million, but only time will tell if McIlroy will be the golden child of Nike that Woods used to be, or an overpaid investment who never quite reached his potential.