Gillette won’t renew contract with Woods

Tiger Woods participates in a promotion for the Gillette Fusion Power Gamer razor during the Gillette-EA Sports Champions of Gaming Finals in Orlando, Fla., Feb. 3, 2009.

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PORTLAND, Ore. – The Procter & Gamble Co. says it will not renew its endorsement deal with golfer Tiger Woods after the end of the year.

The company used Woods and dozens of other athletes as part of its three-year “Gillette Champions” marketing program. Gillette said Thursday that it is phasing out that program and in turn, not renewing the contract with Woods and several other athletes.

The golfer was once the most sought-after pitchman in sports and was the first athlete to earn $1 billion from endorsement agreements. However, many corporations cut ties or distanced themselves from Woods after revelations of marital infidelities that dominated headlines for months.

Accenture LLP, AT&T Inc. and Gatorade all dropped Woods in the weeks following the news. Companies such as Gillette and Tag Heuer didn’t end their relationships outright but stopped featuring him in advertisements. Nike Inc. and other companies that had more invested in his skills as a golfer stuck with him.

The company is also letting its contracts with other athletes, including soccer players such as Thierry Henry, Lionel Messi and Ricardo Kaka, end as part of the conclusion of the marketing program.

Gillette, however, is keeping some of the athletes from the program – such as New York Yankees Derek Jeter, tennis star Roger Federer and hockey player Alexander Ovechkin – for new local marketing campaigns.

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