February 23rd, 2009

Tiger Will Have AT&T Golf Bag

By Darren Rovell
CNBC Sports Biz

When caddie Steve Williams slings Tiger Woods’ clubs over his shoulder on Wednesday at the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship, there will be a different logo on the bag: AT&T.

For the last nine years, Woods has had the Buick logo on his bag. The two ended their endorsement deal late last year.

AT&T is the main sponsor of the PGA tournament Woods hosts in July and is the presenting sponsor of his main charity event “TigerJam.” Yet Woods has never done commercials with the company. Under this expanded deal, Woods will now star in spots.

AT&T said on Monday that it would invest more than $1 billion this year to expand its global telecommunications network. Woods is probably the best spokesman the company could have hired to help them reach that goal.

AT&T is very well accustomed to branding its name on sporting venues and tournaments. The company has naming rights on a pro stadium and arena. SBC had the naming rights to both the San Francisco Giants stadium and the San Antonio Spurs arena. But when SBC purchased AT&T and adopted the AT&T name, it turned into AT&T Park (Giants) and AT&T Center (Spurs). The company also purchased naming rights to the ballpark where the Oklahoma City RedHawks, the Triple-A affiliate of the Texas Rangers, play.

Besides Woods’ tournament, they sponsor two other PGA Tour events, including the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am and the AT&T Classic. They also are the presenting sponsor of the Cotton Bowl.

Despite all this branding, AT&T hasn’t done much in the area of associating itself with individual athletes. They ditched their sponsorship of Jeff Burton’s No. 31 car last year and ended their deal with Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps when it expired in December. Woods will now obviously be their face.

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