Despite the controversy surrounding the LIV Golf series, Adidas CEO Kasper Rorsted views it as part of a “normal evolution” of the sport, and plans on continuing to establish partnerships with individual players.
In its inaugural season, the breakaway competition has caused friction throughout the golfing world after it was marketed as a lucrative option for players. Many of the PGA Tour’s top players have been suspended over their participation in the breakaway competition.
Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund has funded LIV, and critics argue that the series serves to glorify the country, despite widespread human rights violations and suspected ties to 9/11 terrorists.
Now the PGA Tour faces an antitrust lawsuit from 11 players including Phil Mickelson and Ian Poulter for their suspension from the traditional North American tour.
Golfing legend and 15-time major champion Tiger Woods has turned down an offer of anywhere from $700 million to $800 million to join LIV Golf, its CEO revealed on Monday, saying that he disapproves of the series at last month’s Open Championship.
The CNBC segment followed Adidas’s quarterly earnings report and addressed Adidas’ decision to sponsor a team in the LIV series.
Asked for his opinion on the rebel tour, he said: “We think it is a normal evolution that is going on, and eventually it is the bodies who need to decide what they do. We have the same conversation when you look upon the Champions League or the World Cup with UEFA or FIFA.”
According to Rorsted, Adidas wishes to remain as sponsor of the individual.
“We have a very strong point of view of the players, and in essence, we want to make certain that we partner with the best player — we think that is how easy that is.”
Despite continued improvements in North America, Adidas’ second quarter operating profit declined 28% year over year due to a suspension of business in Russia, higher costs in supply chains and Covid-19 lockdowns in China.