‘Gatorade Tiger’ Sports Drink Pulled Off the Market

Timing is everything

Gatorade Tiger Image from Flickr.

Gatorade Tiger Image from Flickr.

Gatorade says it decided months ago to discontinue the Gatorade Tiger drink line. Many people are skeptical of this because Gatorade issued an official statement saying it is stopping production on the drink named after Tiger Woods. In fact, when I first read Gatorade’s statement, which said the discontinuation had “absolutely nothing to do with recent events,” I rolled my eyes.

However, it turns out that two days before the Cadillac crash heard ’round the world, Beverage Digest reported that Gatorade Tiger would be discontinued. Furthermore, Gatorade still sponsors Tiger Woods, it just won’t have a drink named after him anymore.

On the green

Tiger Woods is one of the wealthiest athletes on the planet, so he has plenty of cash until payday, regardless of when that payday is or the end of Gatorade Tiger. This brings up interesting questions about Tiger Woods’ endorsements and sponsorship contracts. Can his sponsors just drop him? That’s an important question, considering that 90 percent of Tiger Woods’ income is from endorsements.

However, it might be a tough question to answer. Where there are endorsements, there are legal contracts. When legal contracts are broken, there could be lawsuits. Of course, if a sponsor were to decide to break its contract with Woods because of recent events, Woods would have to go through with a lawsuit to contest it. I don’t know if a guy who made $1 billion last year would want to bother with that.

Case by case

Part of the reason it’s hard to say whether Tiger Woods’ endorsement contracts can be dropped is that there are a lot of them. Whether either party can terminate the contract and for what reason is (or isn’t) included in each individual contract. Business Insider reports that some people have been wondering whether Tiger’s contracts contain “morals clauses” and whether those clauses would even get started to this situation. Business Insider reports that attorney Fernando Pinguelo, who has written about morals clauses, said:

Like all contract negotiations, the leverage the “talent” has in a particular deal as well as the capabilities of his agent, will direct what the clause says. …  Though he has not seen any of Woods’s contracts, he speculated that any morals clause would be quite forgiving — such that the clause would only be triggered in the event of a felony conviction.

Pinguelo points out that Tiger Woods had maximum bargaining power when his contracts were draw up, along with top-tier legal representatives.

Not worth the drama

Business Insider also points out that if sponsors drop Tiger Woods, athletes might not want to sign with those sponsors in the future. Let’s face it, not all athletes maintain squeaky clean behavior records. There might be a few big names out there who would rather not sign with an agency that is likely to drop them if they get caught cheating on their wives. It’s sad, but true.

Furthermore, though Tiger Woods and his list of mistresses have been all over the headlines for the past week, the fuss will die down. It always does. Right now media outlets are manufacturing questions about whether this is the end of Tiger Woods’ career, but it’s not. In a few months the media and sports fans will be all wrapped up in some other non-performance-related scandal, and Tiger Woods will quietly step back onto the golf course.

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