Tiger Woods could be on his way to cracking a mark never before reached in sports — a net worth of $2 billion.
The 38-year-old golfer became the first athlete to crack $1 billion in career earnings, passing the mark in 2009. But shortly after that he hit a wall —- both literally and figuratively — with a number of sponsors stepping back after his numerous affairs were uncovered following a car crash at his Florida home.
But Tiger Woods is back on track, announcing a new partnership with India-based Hero MotoCorp to promote a golf tournament, a deal worth up to $8 million a year.
Experts believe Tiger is now well on the way to his second billion.
“The second billion will be there for him,” former CBS Sports president Neal Pilson, who now runs his own sports consulting firm, told Reuters.
The $2 billion mark is especially significant considering just how far Tiger had fallen after his affairs became public. Many believed that his brand was done for good, and that sponsors would never want to return to a player who suddenly was one of the most hated men in America.
At the time, two economic professors even conducted a study determining that the scandal caused a total of $12 billion in lost stock value after he crashed his sports-utility vehicle and set off a chain reaction that led to close to a dozen women coming out to admit affairs.
“Our findings speak to a larger question of general interest in the business and academic communities: Does celebrity sponsorship have any impact on a firm’s bottom line?” said Victor Stango, an economics professor at the University of California, Davis, back in 2009. “Our analysis makes clear that while having a celebrity of Tiger Woods’ stature as an endorser has undeniable upside, the downside risk is substantial too.”
But Tiger Woods is back now, and experts say the scandal is no longer an issue.
“That’s long gone. That’s over,” Pilson said about issues that led to a loss of endorsements. “His personality, his looks, his contacts, his remaining skills and the emotional tie that people still have to Tiger is eminently marketable.”
Though Tiger Woods will likely reach $2 billion in total earnings, his task to become the greatest golfer of all time may have taken a hit. Woods has been derailed by injuries in the last few years, putting his bid at breaking Jack Nicklaus’s record 18 majors in serious jeopardy.