Why Nike Might Not Be Affected By Tiger

With its top spokesman out on an “indefinite break,” the thinking is that Nike

Golf’s $650 million business could take a massive hit.

But industry insiders said that, contrary to reported anecdotal evidence, Tiger Woods’ absence –- however long it is -- likely won’t make that much of a difference to sales.


Because insiders believe that the only part of the Nike Golf business that might see a slowdown are the products branded with Tiger’s “TW” logo.

That logo appears on a very small sample of Nike Golf’s equipment, which makes up 80 percent of its total sales, according to Matt Powell, an analyst for SportsOneSource, a market retail tracking firm.

And sources tell CNBC that items that Tiger Woods branded clothing, make up less than 10 percent of Nike Golf’s apparel revenue.

“I don’t see much of an impact,” Powell said. “Maybe the ‘TW’ brand will be less important, but it’s not that big to begin with.”

In fact, one retailer told CNBC that they had already ordered Woods’ outfits that he is scripted to wear for this year’s Masters and U.S. Open and are not returning them. Although Woods has a “TW” logo on the back of his shirts, the shirts available at retail don’t have the logo on the back. All Tiger apparel does have a small silver ingot on the left sleeve of the shirts, but -– at the size of a thumbnail –- many retailers don’t expect those shirts to be as tough to sell as say, a “TW” hat.

Last fiscal year, with Woods out eight months, Nike Golf was down 11 percent, but much of that can be attributed to a challenging marketplace.

The big question is if there's a difference to the overall brand in Woods being out with injury versus Tiger's current situation. Woods reportedly makes at least $20 million a year from Nike. Nike Golf sales make up about 3 percent of Nike’s total revenues.

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