While we’re still waiting to hear what the future holds for Mark Steinberg and his star client since Steinberg's split with IMG became news, speculation on the exact nature of the split escalates with a pair of media reports.
SportsBusiness Journal is citing sources saying Steinberg became “too expensive to keep” with a decline in Tiger Woods’ endorsement income adding to the “general decline in golf profits” at IMG.
The New York Post goes a step further, reporting that Steinberg was “dismissed” from IMG with the company opting not to renew his contract, which expires this month.
Neither Steinberg nor Woods have yet addressed the issue.
According to SBJ sources, IMG’s golf division cleared $28 million in profits in 2007 with Woods responsible for generating more than $7 million of that. After the Woods scandal, IMG's golf profits dropped to $15 million in 2010 with Woods bringing in $1.1 million of that, SBJ reported.
The publication also cited industry sources saying Steinberg would have made $3 million in salary and bonuses this year, “significantly more than the fees Woods would have generated.”
Whether Steinberg starts his own venture, or joins a new firm, like Creative Arts Agency, it will be an upset if Woods doesn’t join him. Their relationship appeared to be strong through the worst of Woods’ troubles.
Paul Swangard of Warsaw Sports Marketing Center at the University of Oregon told GolfChannel.com that while Woods is a 'distressed product,' he's still a 'premium brand,' but a brand that depends on winning.'The core brands maintaining associations with Tiger, led by Nike, are dependent on his ability to be a good golfer,' Swangard said. 'If Tiger isn’t the player he was, there’s clear risk in that.”