Tags: Tiger | Woods | Gatorade

Tiger's Sponsors Stand by Their Man - for Now

Wednesday, 09 Dec 2009 12:00 AM

By Jon Friedman

Do you remember the 1968 Tammy Wynette hit, "Stand by Your Man," which proclaimed the virtues of a woman supporting her fella even when she suspects that he has strayed?

Well, it seems that Tiger Woods' sponsors know the tune, too, because they are singing it.

Although Gatorade has put Tiger Gatorade on the back burner for now, crucially, no companies have slammed him publicly so far. Gatorade says its decision wasn't related to the furor surrounding Woods.

Tiger's supporters have made much of the fact that his corporate friends are supporting him publicly in the wake of the furor over his recent marital problems. But is this really such a surprise? After all, what choice did they really have?

If the companies, which have enabled Woods, 33, to earn something like a billion dollars in his career, made noises about deserting Woods in his time of need, don't you think that the agents of other superstar athletes would notice and file the information away somewhere?

Perhaps when a fellow superstar such as Derek Jeter was deciding which shoe company or soft-drink manufacturer to sign with, he might recall that it was, or was not, loyal to his pal Tiger.

The sponsors are exercising excellent business judgment. Yes, they are taking a bit of a publicity hit these days, but in the long run, they'll come out ahead.

Perhaps the more sensible tune to remember now is Simon & Garfunkel's 1970 mantra: "Keep the Customer Satisfied."

It's always a good idea. So, don't be surprised that Tiger Woods is still going to be pitching products on television, even though his presence in TV commercials has been less conspicuous since the fiasco began.

Jon Friedman writes the Media Web column for MarketWatch. Go here for his latest column.

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