EA has repeatedly said they will stick with Tiger Woods through thick and thin, due to their long standing business relationship and because he “remains one of the greatest athletes in history.” In a recent interview, the company’s CEO, John Riccitiello, re-emphasized that stance once again, but this time leaving EA an out in case they decide to go another direction down the road.
“We have no plans to move away from him, but it’s a business relationship on the basis of we make the best golf game and he’s the best golfer,” Riccitiello said. “Both of those things need to be true in the long run for the partnership to make sense.”
With sales of Tiger Woods 11 down 68 percent versus last year’s edition, EA could definitely be feeling some of the heat of the recent scandal surrounding Woods, but, according to Riccitiello, loyalty plays a large role in their relationship. He explains by saying that Woods stuck with EA for a “very long time” and the two have made a “great business together,” so the company is willing to give him the benefit of the doubt for a period of time.”
In other words, Tiger Woods needs to start winning again, or EA is going to have to move on. No one buys a game because the cover athlete used to be great.