Sponsor turns on McIlroy: Rory sued by Oakley as he nears $200m Nike deal
00:47 GMT, 9 January 2013
15:49 GMT, 9 January 2013
Rory McIlroy is facing legal action from sponsor Oakley just as he is set to be unveiled on Monday as the new $200million face of Nike.
The American sunglasses manufacturer confirmed last night they have launched legal action to retain sponsorship of the coveted Northern Irishman.
On a day when another McIlroy sponsor, Jumeirah Hotels & Sports, disappeared into the sunset thanking him for his services, Oakley issued a statement that barely concealed their annoyance at what they perceive as Nike’s illegal move.
Sued: McIlroy is set to become the new face of Nike
‘Oakley’s contract with Rory has a
right of first refusal that permits us to retain Rory as an Oakley
endorser by matching any offer he receives covering our products,’ said
‘These types of provisions are common in the industry. Oakley values Rory and will do all it can to retain him.’
Whether that will amount to very much remains to be seen but Nike are confident they have their man.
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Although the invitation does not name
McIlroy, selected media organisations have been invited to a hotel in
Abu Dhabi on Monday for a ‘major announcement’ featuring Nike and ‘a
Oakley’s contract with McIlroy ended
on 31 December. According to the lawsuit filed in California, when they
tried to use their ‘right of first refusal’ to match the Nike offer,
McIlroy and his agent Conor Ridge ignored the counter-offer, thereby
breaching the Oakley-McIlroy contract.
The Nike deal is thought to be for 10
years and worth $200m.
Meanwhile, Padraig Harrington says he has
‘massive sympathy’ for McIlroy over whether to represent Great Britain or
Ireland at the 2016 Olympics. Dubliner Harrington said: ‘No sportsman
should have to make that decision.’
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