Tiger Woods is back in the video-game business after an announcement by Zynga, the social gaming company, just before the market closed Thursday.
As part of its second-quarter earnings announcement, the San Francisco-based company that counts Words With Friends and FarmVille among its post popular titles declared it is adding sports games. Zynga is developing mobile games in both football and golf, which will live under a new franchise brand called Zynga Sports 365.
According to the announcement, Zynga signed an exclusive, multi-year, multi-platform partnership with Woods.
According to a blog post by Zynga’s COO Clive Downie, “Golf’s massive global appeal and innate social nature lends itself well to mobile games and fosters the on-the-go competition we know you want,” Downie wrote about the golf and the importance of Woods. “By combining Tiger Woods’ unparalleled golf insights with Zynga’s ability to create meaningful connections between players, we can develop truly unique social golf games that bring authenticity and accessibility to sports enthusiasts. We are looking forward to making our Tiger Woods golf game available to all of our players globally this year and giving our players and Tiger’s fans a new way to interact with their favorite golfer.”
Tiger Woods' agent Mark Steinberg confirmed the deal and spoke to the benefits for Woods.
“We thought it was a real good opportunity and just another good business opportunity for Tiger,” Steinberg said. “We've kind of been on a bit of a good roll from a business standpoint with MusclePharm and some of his golf-course projects and now Zynga and some real good foundation deals with Quicken Loans.”
Steinberg confirmed that the deal will include not only the use of Woods' likeness, but also the former World No. 1 will be involved with the development of the game as well.
“It's considerably different than what we did for all those years successfully with EA,” Steinberg said. “EA was a fantastic partner for us for so many years, but it's different. It's a different time, and it's a different – it's a different way to consume the game. But like anything, Tiger is going to be involved in it.”
According to Zynga, the golf and NFL games will be developed in their Orlando studio and the Woods game will launch globally in 2015.
Steinberg was unwilling to disclose deal terms, but suggested both a money and equity component were involved.
“Often times in those deals you would say a cash component, an equity component, and so again,” Steinberg said of deals he generally negotiates. “I can't speak specific to that, but often times you see that, and you saw what was reported with MusclePharm. As a general rule I want to be as creative when I'm negotiating those deals as possible.”