Tiger Woods is close to signing a new long-term endorsement agreement with Nike Inc. that probably will keep the No. 1-ranked golfer with the world’s largest sporting goods company for the rest of his career, his agent, Mark Steinberg, said.
Woods’s current agreement, which was signed in 2006, is set to expire this year.
Steinberg, Woods’s agent with Excel Sports Management, said in an e-mail that he expects the deal to be signed “soon” and will keep the 14-time major tournament winner as the company’s highest-paid golf endorser.
While Steinberg declined to discuss specific contract terms, he said the new agreement “portends he will likely be a Nike athlete for his career.”
Beth Gast, a spokeswoman for Nike’s golf division, declined to comment on the negotiations in an e-mail.
The 37-year-old Woods has endorsed Nike’s golf division since turning professional in 1996 and re-signed with the Beaverton, Oregon-based company in 2001 and 2006. ESPN first reported the new contract negotiations.
Woods’s agreement with Nike has been reported to be worth as much as $20 million a year since he signed a five-year contract in 2001, replacing an original $40 million agreement.
In March, Golf Digest magazine said Woods earned $77 million off the course in endorsements in 2012, while Sports Illustrated reported Woods’s 2012 earnings at closer to $40 million. Steinberg has called such rankings inaccurate in the past.
While Woods lost endorsement deals with AT&T Inc., Accenture Plc and TAG Heuer watches following a marital scandal in 2009, Nike remained by his side.
Woods has won four times on the U.S. PGA Tour this year and finished fourth at the Masters Tournament in April. At next week’s U.S. Open at Merion Golf Club, he will be seeking to win his first major tournament since capturing the 2008 Open at Torrey Pines in San Diego.
In January, Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy joined Woods, No. 1 in the Official World Golf Ranking, as a Nike endorser after ending his five-year relationship with Titleist. The Irish Times reported the agreement to be worth as much as $250 million over 10 years for the two-time major tournament winner.
Nike also signed U.S. PGA Tour players Kyle Stanley and Nick Watney and Denmark’s Thorbjorn Olesen to endorsement deals this year.
Nike shares were up 62 cents to $62.28 at 12:39 p.m. New York time.