Tiger Woods Partnership With 2K Is Michael Jordan-Like For PGA Tour, Publisher Says
2K president David Ismailer compared the exclusivity deal with Tiger Woods to similar sports deals the company has struck with icons like Michael Jordan.
Partnering with sports icon Tiger Woods was an important step in building up the PGA Tour 2K brand, according to 2K president David Ismailer. In an interview, the executive compared the celebrity partnership with one it struck with Michael Jordan, and addressed the unfortunate automobile accident Woods sustained last month.
"There aren't that many icons in the industry other than Tiger Woods," Ismailer told GamesIndustry.biz. "And the way I view building sports franchises, it takes quite a while to build into the franchise. So we thought it was the right way to partner with Tiger. We view his ability to help us into the next set of iterations of these games over a long-term basis. We've done similar partnerships like this with players like Michael Jordan and others in the industry, specifically in basketball, around long-term partnerships for their support in growing our franchises."
Woods will be an executive director and consultant for the development team, the newly acquired HB Studios. That's the developer behind The Golf Club and PGA Tour 2K21, so it will already be drawing on plenty of golf experience. The deal secures Woods' name and likeness to appear exclusively in the PGA Tour 2K series as well as any other 2K golf games. Woods was previously signed with EA Sports for 10 years.
Ismailer also addressed Woods' accident, and said that it doesn't change anything regarding the nature of the deal.
"We came to our agreement and partnership in advance of that accident, but that doesn't change our relationship of him becoming our executive director for the title, helping us decide talent, events, courses," he said. "He's got a wealth of knowledge. He's one of golf's most precious icons, and we think between acquiring HB and working with Tiger, we've got an incredible opportunity to build golf in the video game space."
In comments released alongside the press announcement, Ismailer also wished Woods a full and smooth recovery.
PGA Tour 2K21 was 2K's first golf game officially licensed with the PGA brand, and it made a big splash, selling 2 million copies. The success made it that much more likely to become a major part of 2K's sports portfolio.