Oakley filed a lawsuit this month against Rory McIlroy and Nike for breach of contract.
McIlroy is currently under contract with Oakley until December 31, 2012 but that hasn’t stopped the golf phenom from finding a new home for 2013. McIlroy reportedly has a $200 million contract lined up with Nike for the new year. Oakley is suing, however, saying that they have a “right of first refusal” in their contract with McIlroy.
The lawsuit, which was filed on December 10 in Santa Ana, California, argues that McIlroy’s agent Conor Ridge ignored Oakley’s counteroffer and thereby breached the contract. Oakley also claims that it has spent more than $300,000 on photoshoots for products that McIlroy was supposed to endorse in 2013. The company says that it will suffer “irreparable” damage if the golfer refuses to renew his contract.
According to ESPN, Oakley offered McIlroy 30% of the Nike deal for the golfer to continue wearing its eyewear and apparel. The Nike deal is reportedly worth $200 million which means that Oakley’s offer was about $60 million. The details of Nike’s contract aren’t available yet but the contract likely includes clubs, apparel and eye wear, meaning McIlroy would have no use for Oakley anymore. The golfer has renewed his contract with Titlist but it doesn’t look like he’s trying to do the same with Oakley.
McIlroy’s management company, Horizon Sports Management, said that the golfer has fulfilled all of his obligations to Oakley.
The management company said:
“McIlroy has fulfilled all of his obligations to Oakley and the claims in the lawsuit are entirely baseless.”
McIlroy made $14 million in prize money this season alone. He just bought a beautiful new mansion and has major companies fighting over him. The lawsuit may deter his deal with Nike but McIlroy will still be making millions in 2013.