EA Sports Explains Why It Didn't Leave Tiger As PGA Tour Online Launches

Tiger Woods begins his comeback at The Masters this week, and the browser-based game bearing his name transitioned from beta to full release today. EA Sports' boss hit the television to talk about why EA never left the scandal-wracked golfer.

"We are a very different company, in regards to our relationship with Tiger, than other sponsors that have cut bait," Peter Moore told CNBC's "Power Lunch" earlier today. "He's in the game. He's not an arm's length endorser."

Moore explained that Tiger Woods PGA Tour Online has been in development for about 18 months, most of that preceding a car crash incident in late November that ripped the lid off his marital infidelities. "We've been very clear in our support of Tiger Woods the golfer," Moore emphasised. "We have a very strong relationship. He's a gamer himself, and instrumental himself in helping us develop this game over the past 15 years."

Moore at first said Electronic Arts' board had zero questions about continuing its relationship with Woods - "None whatsoever." Pressed on the point, though, he acknowledged that "obviously there are questions" asked in such circumstances. "But then when you look at the facts and what we stand for, it's the abil to deliver a world-class simulation of golf, around the world, and while we're supportive of Tiger in the challenges he's gone through in personal life, this is about simulating the game of golf, and we've been very, very clear it's about supporting Tiger the golfer."

Tiger Woods PGA Tour Online went public with an open beta in January. Since then, Moore said, virtual golfers have logged more than two million rounds played, with 800,000 unique visitors in the last month alone. "It's not your your typical core gamer," Moore said. "It's a 40-year-old male, typically, who typically wouldn't buy our core game on the Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3."

The game will make money via a tiered subscription options and microtransactions. The console game's release is still on target for June, on the 360, PS3 and Wii.

"Certainly we think a strong showing [at The Masters]will help [sales] , but it's not a determining factor," Moore said. "Tiger has had some of the personal issues in his life over the past month and we've seen no dropoff."

The question nobody asked is, did EA Sports deliberately time its debut of Tiger Woods PGA Tour Online for The Masters and if so, did it make that decision before or after Woods' picked that tournament for his return? If before, it's a ballsy bet that paid off nicely.

Then again, the first Major of the year is when plenty of folks are thinking about golf, regardless of who's playing in the tournament.

Here's the full video of Moore's appearance:


    I would certainly think that they did coincide the releases together, since tiger seemed to have quite a bit of a hand in the production of the game.

    Kudos to EA Sports for sticking to him though, at the end of the day, he's just a really really good golfer and them making that distinction between his on field and off field antics is pretty wholesome.

    EA has been changing its business style a LOT over the last 3 years and I'm glad to see this as the icing on the cake.

    So many companies ditched Tiger when he did this. It's something from his personal life and that's what it was, personal. I get they didn't wanna be labelled 'disreputable' or whatever, as businesses often overreact, but thankfully EA used common sense and said 'Hang on a minute, maybe people aren't as overreactive as companies think...'

    So good on you EA, you're making a great effort at rebuilding your image with gamers brick by brick... (yeah you did a giant sledgehammer smash at that wall with C&C4... but a patch COULD fix that...)

    I agree with both andrew and weresmurf, in that EA sticking with Tiger, but feel at the same time, they didn't have many options. As far as stars of the sport go at the moment, no-one else has the star attraction that Tiger has.

    Phil Mickleson, Vijay Singh, Ernie Els, Adam Scott, Sergio Garcia, etc... are all great players. But fans of Golf, for the last 10-12 years go to see Tiger play, that's what they want.

    I'm sure that if the game was re-branded they probably wouldn't get the same sales as they regularly would.

    Really hope that when he tees off on Friday morning (our time) that all the shit he's been through is left off the course and all the fans simply let me play golf like we all want him too.

    I understand why many sponsors left him (he's an adulterous hornbag), but it makes sense that EA Sports keeps him; other companies needed him to be a likable person, but EA only needs him to be a good golfer.

    I bet they generated more interest because of the whole scandal, so why would EA care if Tiger's a good guy or not? This is EA we're talking about here, not the Catholic Church.

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