Nike Golf has signed a sponsorship deal with No. 1-ranked Rory McIlroy for a reported $200 million. Nike now represents golf's two biggest stars in McIlroy and Tiger Woods, who has been with the sportswear company since turning pro in 1996.
At a press conference in Abu Dhabi, where McIlroy will this week play in the HSBC Golf Championship, Nike confirmed their new "multi-year" arrangement with golf's rising superstar but refused to reveal any extra details.
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According to Today’s Golfer, Nike Golf have also unveiled a new advert that features Tiger Woods and the Northern Irishman together.
The new advert shows the duo showcasing their athletic competitiveness, remarkable talents and playful attitudes by trying to outdo each other with a series of trick shots on the range.
It is a major coup for Nike after they recently dropped cyclist Lance Armstrong, who has been stripped of his seven Tour de France titles for doping offenses.
McIlroy and Woods are captured on the driving range lightheartedly taking turns to one-up each other by making amazing shots into a variety of different cups, including bowls in restaurants and champagne flutes at a wedding.
"I really like the ad," said Woods. "It shows the fun side of us and I had a good time shooting it."
McIlroy added, "I'm genuinely excited about the first Nike TV ad I will be appearing in as a Nike athlete. The theme of the ad is really cool and it's a great way to kick off my career at Nike."
According to the Forbes list of 2012, McIlroy's deal with Nike will make him the highest paid young sports star in the world, taking him well above the $17.4 million he earned in the year up to July 2012.
Simon Chadwick, sports business expert, said: “So essentially what they've (Nike) been looking for is an heir apparent, somebody with the same competitive characteristics as Woods but without the baggage, as well as somebody who can conceivably carry the brand into the future. That's why I think the length of the deal is absolutely crucial.”
The deal transforms McIlroy into one of the hottest commercial properties in sport.
The first time the world will see Nike's new double act in action will be on Thursday when McIlroy and Woods line up for the HSBC Championship in Abu Dhabi.
Here's the advert: