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Accenture becomes first sponsor to drop Tiger Woods completely

Global consulting firm says it 'determined that he is no longer the right representative for its advertising' after his decision to take a break from golf after admitting to infidelity.

December 14, 2009|By Diane Pucin

Accenture, a global consulting firm, became the first of Tiger Woods' sponsors to completely cut ties with the golfer Sunday.

Accenture released a statement saying it was ending its business agreement with Woods, who had represented the company for six years.

"After careful consideration and analysis, the company has determined that he is no longer the right representative for its advertising," the statement said.

On Friday, Woods had announced he was taking an "indefinite" break from golf and admitted for the first time that he had committed "infidelities."

Woods, who earns an estimated $110 million annually from his sponsorship agreements, according to Forbes magazine, has been in the news constantly since an early-morning car accident last month. Since then have come multiple reports from women claiming to have had sexual liaisons with Woods.

On Saturday, Gillette announced it would not run Woods' advertisements for an indefinite period, though it did not end the relationship. Nike and Electronic Arts (makers of the EA Sports games) have so far indicated they are sticking with Woods, while AT&T said Saturday in a statement that it was "reevaluating" its relationship with Woods.

According to the Associated Press, Woods' agent Mark Steinberg of IMG said, "Accenture has made a decision to not continue with their sponsorship. We are disappointed but respect their decision."

Richard Burton, a professor of sports management at Syracuse University who has been a brand manager for Miller Beer and the former chief marketing officer for the U.S. Olympic Committee, said it is likely Accenture is "scrambling for a new campaign and trying to put up something more conservative."

Burton said, "They had an ad campaign they liked and they haven't had much time to think about what's next." Burton also said it's unlikely that anyone at the companies who sponsor Woods will be blamed for pushing Woods' advertising.

"If you asked anyone at any company two months ago who was the cleanest, safest athlete in the world, most people would have said Tiger Woods, and an ad manager would have been roundly applauded for getting Woods," Burton said.

diane.pucin@latimes.com

twitter.com/mepucin

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