EA Sports, Tiger Woods part ways

Updated: October 29, 2013, 10:50 AM ET
By Darren Rovell | ESPN.com

One of Tiger Woods' longest business relationships has come to an end.

Electronic Arts announced Monday that it would be ending its 15-year relationship with the golfer, the namesake for the "Tiger Woods PGA Tour" video game series.

The end of the deal means that the game won't contain Woods' name, he won't be on the cover and he won't be in the game. Although players unions in the major sports require players to be in products like video games, athletes in individual sports can choose whether or not they want to be in the games.

"We've always been big fans of Tiger and we wish him continued success in all his future endeavors," Daryl Holt, the company's vice president and general manager, said in a statement, calling it a "mutual decision."

The story was earlier reported by the Sports Business Journal.

EA's "Tiger Woods PGA Tour" franchise has sold $771 million worth of games over the course of its lifetime, according to market tracking company NPD Group.

"We had an incredible run," said Woods' agent Mark Steinberg, who explained the latest contract had expired. "Outside of [John] Madden, you would be hard pressed to find a sports figure that meant as much to a video game company as Tiger meant to EA. But times are changing and EA had to re-evaluate the partnership, and frankly so did we."

Steinberg said he's in negotiations with another company regarding Woods' video game rights. EA noted it will continue to use the PGA Tour name on the game.

Although EA officials publicly said Woods' extramarital affairs and the fallout didn't hurt his status, the company chose to have him share the cover in recent years with the likes of Rory McIlroy, Rickie Fowler and Arnold Palmer.

It has been a rough couple of months for Electronic Arts. Last month, the video game company agreed to stop making its college football game as part of a settlement with former players. Despite its recent issues, shares of the company's stock were up 108 percent over the last year through the close of trading Monday.

As a result of the scandal that surrounded Woods' personal life, Accenture, AT&T, Gatorade and Tag Heuer either severed or didn't renew their deals with him.

With EA gone, only two sponsors who were with Woods in 2009 remain: Nike, which first signed him when he turned pro in 1996 and renewed its deal this year, and fractional plane sharing company NetJets. Woods also has deals with Fuse and Rolex, as well as an Asia-only deal with Kowa.

Darren Rovell | email

ESPN.com Sports Business reporter

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