AT&T Drops Tiger Woods

Telecommunications giant is latest to end sponsorship deal with beleaguered golfer
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Telecommunications giant AT&T will sever its
relationship with beleaguered golfer Tiger Woods. The company said Dec. 31 that
it would end its sponsorship deal with Woods, whose public image has been
battered by revelations of extensive adultery.

AT&T joins technology consulting firm Accenture in
dropping Woods, whose previously carefully maintained public image has earned
him lucrative endorsement deals worth more than $100 million a year.

Woods has not been a large part of AT&T's marketing
campaign. He has hosted the annual AT&T National PGA Tour event since 2007
and the company's logo appeared on his golf bag.

However, Woods was the public face of Accenture appearing in
83% of its ads, according to TNS Media Intelligence. The company said Dec. 13
that "after careful consideration and analysis" it
determined that Woods "is no longer the right representative for its
advertising." His image was promptly removed from the Accenture homepage. But
scrubbing Woods from all of Accenture's advertising will take time. Accenture billboard
featuring Woods were still visible at major airports in Atlanta,
Minneapolis-St. Paul and New York
as recently as Dec. 31.

Other sponsors have put their
Woods campaigns on hold. Procter & Gamble's Gillette is not airing ads for
its razors that include Woods. And luxury watch maker Tag Heuer said that it
would "downscale" Woods' image in its campaign.

Electronic Arts Inc., which
distributes the Tiger Woods PGA Tour series of video games, has not disclosed
plans for the franchise.

AT&T has also been a presenting sponsor of the annual
Tiger Jam concert in Las Vegas,
but that contract has already expired. Woods won the AT&T National last
summer. However, he is on a self-imposed "indefinite" leave from professional
golf and is not slated to play in the 2010 tournament.

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