June 3, 2010: Tiger Woods, who is still dealing with personal problems off the golf course, remains a viable spokesman on the course, at least in the eyes of EA Sports. The videogame company, which has remained one of Woods' staunchest supporters during histime of personal trouble, puts the golfer front and center alongside former NFL coach Mike Ditka and other golfers in a new campaign for Tiger Woods PGA Tour 11.
A TV spot will launch on June 3 on ABC during Game 1 of the NBA Finals between the Los Angeles Lakers and Boston Celtics. Woods also will be featured in a series of videos breaking online this week.
Support includes ESPN.com, SI.com, FoxSports.com, SportingNews.com and Sports.Yahoo.com. The campaign was created by Heat, San Francisco. Wieden + Kennedy, Portland, is the media agency. Spend for the campaign was not disclosed.
This is the second new spot featuring Woods since a Thanksgiving Day accident led to the unraveling of his personal life. A Nike commercial with Woods was released during the Masters in April. Woods has lost about $30 million in endorsement deals from Accenture, AT&T and PepsiCo's Gatorade.
EA Sports, however, has unveiled two new products since December. According to the company, since the release of Tiger Woods PGA Tour 99, Tiger Woods' videogames have sold more than 25 million units worldwide.
"He has sponsors, but our role with him is much bigger than that. His name is on our product. He is in our product." — Peter Moore, EA Sports
"He has sponsors, but our role with him is much bigger than that. His name is on our product. He is in our product," Peter Moore, president of EA Sports, told NYSportsJournalism during an earlier interview. "This is much different from other companies that have used him mainly as an endorsement figurehead. There has never been any doubt that Tiger Woods is currently the greatest golfer in the world and will be so until someone proves that otherwise. Over the past 12 years there has been a great mutual relationship between Tiger Woods and EA and we intend for that to continue."
EA Sports said that the campaign's concept is “All the excitement of team sports meets golf . . . now with team play.” Tag: “Welcome to team golf.” The campaign breaks to coincide with Woods defending his title at the Memorial Tournament.
In the TV spot, which will air in 30- and 60-second versions, crowds reminiscent of football and soccer games cheer on Team America (Tiger and Rickie Fowler) taking on Team Europe (Ian Poulter and Edoardo Molinari). Ditka calls Team America in for a huddle and advises in football terms, "Tiger, we're going to lay out and make sure we get the putt." When Woods sinks the winning putt, cheerleaders go wild and the crowd reacts similarly to a sign that reads, "Go crazy." (Watch it here.)
Also breaking online beginning this week are five hybrid team sport/golf videos. In them, curling sweepers guide Tiger’s putt to the hole, Team Europe shoots basketball three-pointers with a pitching wedge, a hockey goalie stops three Ian Poulter drives-on-goal (on a fourth he scores) and a soccer netminder leaps to block Tiger’s putt. An omnibus combines all those sports, plus football. The voiceover for all online videos is ESPN announcer Scott Van Pelt.
Tiger Woods PGA Tour 11 for Xbox, PlayStation and Wii is scheduled to hit retailers on June 8.
"We’ve taken a much different approach than Nike did in their well-publicized TV spot that aired during the Masters in April," Moore wrote on his EA Sports blog. "But after a tumultuous six months, both off-and now on-the course, we were ready to see the world’s best golfer smiling, laughing and having fun, something that you’ll see in abundance in these creative spots."