McIlroy adds Bose to booming sponsorship deals

Rory McIlroy signed autographs for fans before the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship.

Rory McIlroy signed autographs for fans before the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship.

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PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. – A year ago, Rory McIlroy claimed the title of world’s No. 1 golfer for the first time with his victory at the Honda Classic.

Two days before he begins his title defense, McIlroy returned to the scene – this time making a run at becoming golf’s No. 1 pitchman. At a small media gathering, Bose Corp., announced that McIlroy will be a global brand ambassador for the company’s headphones, portable speakers, and home and automotive systems. A company official said it is a four-year deal. Terms were not disclosed.

McIlroy was dressed in a buttoned-up plaid shirt, sleeves rolled, and jeans. He spoke openly of his fondness for the company’s products. There was less pomp and circumstance than his blockbuster Nike announcement in January, but the message was clear – no noise-reducing headphones required – Rory McIlroy has emerged as golf’s latest crossover star.

“Rory is a once-in-a-generation athlete,” said Bose president Bob Maresca.

McIlroy already has signed what is reported to be the most-lucrative golf equipment deal in the sport’s history. The next step in joining the likes of Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Arnold Palmer as golf’s premier pitchmen is to grow his portfolio of non-endemic sponsorships. Expect deals with companies from categories such as financial services and automotive to emerge for the 23-year-old, two-time major champion.

This is the first endorsement for McIlroy involving a consumer electronics brand. Bose officials are hoping that images of McIlroy listening to his headphones on the range before his round will boost sales the way Olympian Michael Phelps – lost in thought before his swimming races – was music to the ears of headphone-maker Sol Republic.

“I’m a huge headphone guy,” McIlroy said. “I use their in-ear headphones to work out, and their noise-canceling headphones to travel… Their headphones go with me everywhere.”

McIlroy said that he purchased his first Bose headset when he was “15 or 16 at a factory store in Belfast (Northern Ireland).”

The agreement was finalized after McIlroy visited the Bose R&D facility at the company’s world headquarters in Framingham, Mass.

So what’s on McIlroy’s playlist? According to a press release, he is a fan of Swedish House Mafia, David Guetta, and dance/techno.

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