Gatorade officials confirmed to CNBC on Tuesday afternoon that its subline “Gatorade Tiger Focus” will be discontinued.
The decision, they say, has absolutely nothing to do with recent events surrounding Woods, but more to do with a strategy devised months ago to streamline their offerings.
Gatorade officials provided a statement to CNBC which says: “We decided several months ago to discontinue Gatorade Tiger Focus along with some other products to make room for our planned series of innovative products in 2010. We hope to share more about our 2010 plans soon.”
Even though Michael Jordan started endorsing Gatorade in 1991, the drink named after the world’s No. 1 golfer marked the first time the PepsiCo brand ever attached a subline to an athlete.
The deal was also a precedent setter given that Woods’ agent Mark Steinberg managed to negotiate the deal as a licensing agreement. Instead of getting paid a straight-up fee, Woods received a royalty based on sales. Steinberg did not immediately return an e-mail asking about the phasing out of the Tiger drink.
The drink, which was launched nationwide in March 2008, was the only Gatorade that contained theanine, which has been shown in studies to reduce mental and physical stress. Gatorade said last week in a statement that its contract with Woods would continue.
Critics might say that Gatorade is just reacting to the recent news, but industry trade Beverage Digest actually reported the discontinuation of the Gatorade Tiger Focus line on Nov. 25, two days before the accident occurred.
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