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Sports Agent John Mascatello Discusses Tiger Woods' Breakthrough Deal with Nike

Aired September 15, 2000 - 2:06 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

LOU WATERS, CNN ANCHOR: No matter how many gold medals an athlete wins in Sydney, it's unlikely they will ever win an endorsement deal as big as the one Tiger Woods, apparently, is signing with Nike for about $100 million.

The company won't confirm it, but sources tell the Associated Press the deal could be signed later today. It's a contract extension expected to bring Woods an average of $20 million a year over five years. That's in addition to his winnings on the golf course this year, now surpassing $7 million, and several other endorsement deals.

Is any athlete worth that kind of money? Is Tiger worth it? Nike obviously thinks so.

Joining us to talk about Tiger's breakthrough deal, sports agent John Mascatello. He heads up the golf division of SFX Sports Group, which represents Michael Jordan.

Is Tiger worth it? I know many athletes who would have endorsed Nike for half that amount.

JOHN MASCATELLO, SPORTS AGENT: Well, I think, Lou, the value is predicated upon much more than just golf here. Nike's made a decision to extend the contract with Tiger. He's obviously performing on the golf course at unparalleled success rates. And the involvement here with Woods, will be for both their golf brand, but one would suspect -- suspect, excuse me, for all of their product lines that Nike's currently involved in.

WATERS: Well, is this -- is this sort of betting on the calm here. The Nike president said: If we get into equipment, golf clubs and such, Tiger is our man.

Is this how a deal like this is put together: we get the endorser, then we plan products around the person?

MASCATELLO: Well, I think that can be the case. Particularly here, Nike has introduced new products as their relationship with Tiger has developed. The golf ball has been their recent new entry into the golf industry. Down the road one would suspect that they will make a entry into the equipment, hard goods as well.

WATERS: How does this translate to those of us who play golf? Are we going to go in and buy a $78/dozen Nike golf balls now? Somebody's got to pay for this.

MASCATELLO: Well, the cost of the products obviously, at some point, are passed on to the consumer, but Nike is betting that Tiger's involvement in the sport will only bring more active participants and a new wave of golfer will result in new sales.

WATERS: Michael Jordan was the king of all endorsers until now. I imagine he will have to take back seat to Tiger, won't he?

MASCATELLO: Well, I don't know if Michael will necessary take a back seat. I think that if you look at the athletes that have made a mark, whether it's a Kobe Bryant, a Greg Norman, an Arnold Palmer, you're trying to find the best in each of the respective sports and Tiger, right now, is leading the charge in golf. And, you know, we hope that it will have crossover for all of the other athletes that we are currently representing.

WATERS: Does this mean a bright future for many athletes in the endorsement world?

MASCATELLO: I -- I would suspect, yes. That with Woods' new contract obviously the bar is being raised. At SFX we feel that there are great opportunities out there, whether that's an Andre Agassi in tennis or a Greg Norman in our golf group. We believe that the future is quite bright.

WATERS: Is there a point at which -- now Tiger endorses American Express, Buick, Chrysler, others that aren't coming to mind right now, but is there a point at which the endorsement deals become more important than sport itself? maybe detracting from the sport itself?

MASCATELLO: Well, I think that's what's so marvelous about Tiger, is with all of the business success he is currently enjoying, he remains completely focused on being the greatest golfer of all time. And when you are able to do that, it seems as if it's just an easier progression into the business world. One would imagine that over time he continues to emphasize quality over quantity and a few key relationships carry forth for his entire career, with obviously Nike being at the forefront of those companies right now.

WATERS: That's quite a remarkable story, John Mascatello, with SFX Sports Group.

Thanks so much for helping us with the story.

MASCATELLO: Thanks.

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