Coca-Cola signs up Tiger Woods

Coca-Cola has secured one of its first high-profile sports sponsorships by signing a deal with US golf star Tiger Woods.

The soft drinks giant will sponsor the Tiger Woods Foundation, which was set up in December 1996 to help under-privileged children in the US but now plans to expand into global markets.

Coke will become the official beverage of the foundation, and will sponsor two key events this year – a series of junior golf clinics and a charity pop concert, called “Tiger Jam”. It will also launch marketing campaigns to support fundraising initiatives.

The foundation is backed by American Express, Rolex and the sportswear giant Nike, which last year renewed its sponsorship of the golfer in a $90m (£56m) deal.

Coke has historically fought shy of sponsoring sports personalities – a strategy which rival PepsiCo has fully embraced.

Pepsi recently signed some of the world’s top football stars – including Manchester United’s David Beckham and Dwight Yorke, and Real Madrid’s Roberto Carlos – for its latest soccer advertising (MW March 2).

It is not known whether Coke plans to sign up other high-profile sports stars, although a spokesman says the deal is “a community relations initiative” rather than a golf marketing programme.

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