Most people in America now are probably not as interested in what Nike Inc. (NYSE: NKE) did for earnings after the closing bell today, but the Tiger Woods story is still big news. Our guess going into today was that everyone would want to hear about whether Tiger Woods was still going to be in the lineup of Nike athletes. Nike did not really address this is the earnings release today. It did turn out that this was the first question from the first analyst in the conference call Q&A session today.
The question came from the analyst at Barclays named Bob Drbul. Nike’s response was that it is standing by Tiger Woods.
Management said that Nike has a $650 million golf business, and that area has been the hardest hit during the recession compared with most sports. The company says it feels good about its place in the golf market.
The representative from Nike further noted that Tiger has chosen to step away from the game and that Nike will respect his choice and given him space. Nike will continue support Tiger Woods and his family and looks forward to his return.
Over the weekend before it came out about Tiger’s pause from golf, we had discussed how this had moved beyond scandal to one of the top business stories out there. I apologize for not giving direct quotes on this, but these comments were transcribed live from the Nike conference call and it was occurring at the same time there were other, more pressing issues going on. That transcript should be available shortly or in the morning.
Jon C. Ogg