High Profile Sponsorships Gone Wrong

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Tiger Woods in 2007

Image via Wikipedia

As we all know too well, the world of sport, motorsport and celebrity is one that revolves completely around money. People, CEOs and famous athletes will do anything to succeed in their respective position – and do even more to secure lucrative sponsorship deals. The aforementioned agreements are usually worth millions to the figure and can boost the popularity of a brand overnight. But what happens when it all goes wrong? When the sponsorship deals goes sour? Let’s have a gander.

Tiger Woods

Mr Tiger Woods – that’s not his real name either, Google that! – is, or was, one of the most respected athletes of our time. He completely revolutionised the game of golf when he came on the scene in 1997 and, for well over a decade, dominated the sport with his incredible shot-making and will to win. One problem, though, the guy liked his women, and a that love of the opposite sex came back to haunt him when a series of unfortunate events lead to the media finding out Woods had been cheating on his wife for years with quite a lot of women.

The news shook the world, disappointed millions of fans and surprised even Woods’ closest friends, but one thing that Woods lost more than his dignity was his appeal to the big sponsors. Tiger was signed up to everything: Nike, Gillette, AT&T, Gatorade, the Moon, Jesus, you get the idea. But when the news broke, his multi-million dollar partnerships looked very rocky. He single-handedly tarnished the reputation of the aforementioned companies – and, rather surprisingly, the companies weren’t very happy. Especially AT&T, who are a bit like O2 in Britain, as they invested hugely in utilising Woods’ high-profile image to sell their mobile phones.

Kobe Bryant

Kobe Bryant isn’t really that well-known to us Brits, but in America he’s one of the most famous basketball players ever – think Michael Jordan but not as good. So when charges of sexual assault were thrust upon Kobe back in 2003, the Yanks gasped and the basketball-playing children of America instantly lost a hero. Kobe managed to get the charges dismissed, but his big-time endorsement partners were about as interested as the general public is with a political speech.

His contracts with McDonalds, Sprite and Nutella all vanished, losing Kobe $6 million a year just like that. He has since kept his public figure quite low-key and continued to play ball for the L.A. Lakers, but his trail in 2003 was enough to tarnish his image forever.

The F1-cigarette deal

For decades Formula One cars were lavished with the branding of major cigarette companies. Ferrari had one of the most successful deals with Marlboro, as they have been in agreement with each other since 1984. But when the EU banned cigarette companies from advertising on the actual cars in 2007, there was up-roar, as they felt like why should they change the habit of a lifestyle?

But while the advertising on the cars may be banned, the sponsorship deals aren’t. Marlboro still sponsors Ferrari and has recently just extended their partnership until 2015. So while this deal may have gone a little sour for the entire F1 community in 2007, the money is still there burning away like the embers of a cigarette.

McLaren and Libya

Can a sponsorship deal really fail before it’s even begun? Well, with the McLaren/Libya deal, there is certainly a case for it. McLaren were in talks with the Libyan Tourist Board – before all the uprising began – to place a ‘Visit Libya’ livery on McLaren’s F1 cars.

Obviously, we all know what’s happening to Libya in recent times and McLaren has since insisted no deal will ever be done, but what makes the story more interesting is that the man who was instrumental in the deal has been accused of dealing with Saif Gaddafi – aka, the son of Colonel Gaddafi.

Alex Waters, the aforementioned, has since denied the allegations, but as Saif Gaddafi has been killed in a Nato airstrike, it seems that will be the end of this story. Just imagine, though, if the deal had been agreed and then the whole Libya uprising began. McLaren would have looked mightily embarrassed.

This is a guest post on behalf of Netcars.com, the specialist used cars website.

Home Court advantage is the road to a crown for LA or Cleveland.

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Fryingpan Sports

Home Court advantage is the road to a crown for LA or Cleveland.


By Bill Smith

One of the great things about being a grandfather is that you get to play a lot of home games on holidays. The home court advantage in the 08-09 season is the key to winning the championship. Until Kevin Garnett was hurt for the Celtics, the race was a three team affair. Without KG, the Celtics have struggled and the contest for the best overall record is down to just two teams—The LA Lakers and the Cleveland Cavs.

This year the race for home court advantage is critical. Cleveland is 32-1 at home this season. That loss was to LA 101-91 on Feb. 8. The Cavs should have home court in the Eastern Conference and that will definitely help in a series against Boston. The Cavs hold a 5 game advantage over Boston in the loss column with 12 games left. In 18 games over the last 2 season, the home team has won every time. Had game 7 of that series been at Cleveland rather than in Boston in the series last year, the Cavs likely would have won and gone on to play LA for the title.

The Cavs have a favorable schedule in the remaining games with their toughest games at home. They play Detroit, San Antonio and Boston in the home stretch all at home. The one tough road game will be at Orlando on Apr. 3. In all 8 of their 12 remaining games are in Cleveland.

The pressure is clearly on the Cavs. The best way to keep LeBron James in the wine and gold colors of the Cavs is to win a championship or two before he hits free agency. Like all super competitive super athletes, he wants to win titles.

Given their success at home, the best way to accomplish that goal is to win the home court advantage. Chances are that the race with LA will go down to the last day of the season. Every win is critical to that goal. The Cavs own a 1 game advantage vs. LA but face some tough games down the stretch. An advantage they have is that

That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for and edits https://fryingpansports.com. He has also published several novels on and edits .

My email is [email protected]

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