Will Tiger’s time out hurt EA?

Tiger Woods has confirmed he is going on an ‘indefinite break’ from professional golf following various revelations about his infidelity – throwing doubt over his many licensing and endorsement deals.

But games publisher Electronic Arts, which releases the hugely successful Tiger Woods branded PGA Tour golf game every summer, says his hiatus won’t impact its plans.

Since 1998, the PGA Tour series of golf games has carried Tiger Woods’ name as part of one of his many celebrity endorsements – Woods has worked with the series’ developers and publisher on marketing and content since then.

Today, however, the golfing champion confirmed via his official site that the series of revelations about his personal life have forced him to quit the sport for the time being to focus on his family.

Many pundits have said the harm to Woods’ reputation will temporarily damage his lucrative sponsorship deals with the likes of Gillette, Nike and EA. Earlier in the week licensee Gatorade said it was discontinuing its range of Tiger-branded drinks (although the firm said its timing with news of his infidelity was coincidental).

But with Tiger Woods taking a longer break from golf than expected, does that mean we’ve seen the end of his involvement in the PGA Tour games?

His games publishing colleagues don’t seem concerned, with VentureBeat reporting that EA Sports last night issued a statement, saying: We respect that this is a very difficult, and private, situation for Tiger and his family. At this time, the strategy for our Tiger Woods PGA TOUR business remains unchanged.”

EA and Woods had renewed their deal in 2006, with the publisher signing up rights to use his name and likeness until 2012.

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