ANOTHER BOGIE FOR TIGER
It seems that professional golfer and multi-millionaire, Tiger Woods, can’t catch much of a break in 2015. Beginning the year with a career-worst round of 82 at his first tournament in Phoenix, and later withdrawing from his second at Torrey Pines due to injury, Woods decided to take a rather disappointing break from golf this past February.[i] Woods would soon come to realize that this streak of misfortune would not only affect his game on the greens, but would also topple over into his newest business venture.
Woods Bought A Chunk Of The Harbourside Dream, Or So He Thought …
New York developer and multi-millionaire, Nicholas Mastroianni, has brought a shiny new development to life in Jupiter, Florida, called Harbourside Palace. Complete with a marina, a Tommy Bahama store, and a Wyndham Grand Hotel, the development is making way for Tiger Woods’ new venture, an 8,000 square foot restaurant called “The Woods Jupiter: Sports and Dining Club.” [ii]
However, the Harbourside Dream has proven to be more of a challenge than anything. The expected opening of the restaurant has quickly retreated from the ambitious March 2015 date. Due to construction delays and permitting issues, Mastroianni projects that Woods will have, “a friends and family opening … probably late-April, mid-May. Then you have the summer to sort of work out the kinks and when the season begins, around Oct. 15, you’re ready to go.”[iii]
Despite these serious delays in development, we know that Woods is in it for the long haul. According to Mastroianni, Woods signed a 10-year lease for the 8,000 square foot restaurant and a second 8,000 square foot office space where Woods plans to relocate his ETW Corporate Offices. On top of this long-term commitment, Woods has handed over the big bucks, investing an astounding $8,000,000 in the restaurant alone, or about $1,000 per square foot, nearly 30% more than the cost of the average top scale restaurant.[iv] But, Wood’s hefty investment and long-term commitments don’t escape the minor set backs and kinks that arise with any business venture.
Where’s The “Tiger” In “Tiger Woods?”
At this point, you may have wondered where the “Tiger” in “Tiger Woods” is. How could Tiger Woods not use his full name in the title of the restaurant? “Jupiter Woods” doesn’t seem to have the same effect as “The Tiger Woods Jupiter” or “Tiger Woods Jupiter: Sports and Dining Club.” After all, his name is such a huge part of his celebrity and recognition. One would think that Woods would capitalize off his brand name-value.
Well, the surprising reality is that Tiger Woods doesn’t own his own name despite the incredible name-brand value of the athlete. That’s right, Nike scooped up the rights to the Tiger Woods’ name years ago, preventing Woods from ever using his first and last name together in any non-approved business venture.
Nike has the exclusive right to utilize the Tiger Woods name in all commercial ventures. This means that Woods is not only precluded from using his entire name in commercial pursuits, but is also prohibited from utilizing the full “Tiger Woods” name in press releases without the permission of Nike. The same goes for developer Mastroianni, who is quiet frustrated with the restrictions placed on him during press releases, stating, “[i]t’s over the top.”
Come On… Don’t Feel Too Bad For Tiger
Mastroianni has voiced his less-than-enthusiastic opinions about his inability to use the “Tiger Woods” name in the publicity and marketing of the new development. However, Woods has remained rather silent on the matter, and with good cause.
Let’s take a look back at the last 20 years. Nike has been by Tiger Woods’ side since he turned professional in 1996. His original 5-year endorsement contract with Nike was reportedly worth a hefty $40 million, but by 2001 increased to a projected $100 million for a similar five-year period. His contract was renewed again in 2006, which brought his endorsement deal to its end in 2013. Despite the aftermath of Wood’s highly publicized marital problems in 2009, Nike recommitted to Woods in 2013 with a 7-year endorsement contract, understanding the value of the Tiger Woods brand. Woods is said to bring in about $20 million annually from his Nike endorsement deal alone.[v]
Some may argue that the ability to own someone else’s name is just wrong. Others may wonder how Tiger Woods could agree to sell such valuable rights to a company like Nike. However, Woods has earned an incredible $280 million since 1996 from his Nike endorsement deals alone. This doesn’t even consider his sources of income from other endorsement deals like Tag Heuer, NetJets and EA Sports.
In the end, I’m sure Tiger doesn’t mind the slight inconvenience of choosing a different name for his restaurant when the upside means millions of dollars of security in the bank. After all, let’s remember that the man is a golfer and athlete by nature. He may dabble into the business world, but his new restaurant will remain a mere passion investment to keep him busy while he’s off the course.
[i] Chris Murphy, Tiger Woods Takes a Break From Golf, CNN (February 13, 2015), available at http://edition.cnn.com/2015/02/12/golf/golf-tiger-break-injury/.
[ii] Michael Bamberger, Tiger Woods Has Been Working His Game and on the Next Phase His Career: Entrepreneur, Golf (Friday, March 6, 2015), available at http://www.golf.com/tour-and-news/tiger-woods-shifts-focus-new-restaurant-jupiter-florida?simple=1.
[v] Tiger Woods Signs New Endorsement Deal with Nike, GolfWeek (July 22, 2013), available at http://golfweek.com/news/2013/jul/17/tiger-woods-nike-new-endorsement-deal/.