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AT&T Drops Tiger: What It Means

Thursday, 31 Dec 2009 | 11:38 AM ET

AT&T dropped its endorsement deal with Tiger Woods on Thursday morning. So what does that mean for Tiger?

Well, it means that Accenture—which dropped him on Dec. 13—now has company.

AT&T Drops Tiger as Spokesman
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But it also means that there could be more spaces to fill than if another one of his other sponsors dropped him.

Although the partnership was not as visible as most—Woods wasn't even on AT&T's Web site—it was quite comprehensive.

As part of its sponsorship deal, AT&T not only is a main sponsor of the Tiger Woods Foundation, but also has the title sponsorship of Tiger's summer tournament and its logo on his golf bag.

There already have been suspicions that Woods' charitable event—based in Las Vegas each year—will be at least postponed for the near future, though the foundation itself has denied that any decision has been made. AT&T was the main sponsor of that event, called Tiger Jam, but a company spokesman told CNBC that its sponsorship of Tiger Jam has expired.

Then comes his golf bag. It's not likely that will be left blank, so Golf.com's David Dusek has already predicted Nike will be willing to slap its logo there. That makes sense because it's not expected that Woods would be willing to take any cheap new sponsor for the deal.

Finally, there's the AT&T National, Tiger's summer event. AT&T spokesman Michael Coe told CNBC that the sponsorship is still on for 2010. What will happen after that could be up in the air, but the telecommunications company currently has contractually committed to being a title sponsor of the event through 2014.

If there's a natural next sponsor to go, it's likely Chevron , which is in a similar situation in terms of having a less visible role with Woods, but a more active role with the foundation. It's clear that the foundation, which has done a tremendous job in raising money over the last decade, won't do as well in the near future.

The foundation is currently scheduled to announce on Jan. 15 what organizations will be awarded its next set of grants.

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