August 5, 2022: -Adidas CEO Kasper Rorsted believes the controversial Saudi Arabia-backed LIV Golf series is part of the “normal evolution” of the sport and added that the German sportswear giant would keep focusing on partnerships with unique players.
The PGA Tour suspends many of its big names regarding their participation in the breakaway competition in its inaugural season. It has affected friction throughout the golfing world after drawing players with enormous fees.
Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund is bankrolling LIV, and critics accuse the series of serving to enhance the kingdom’s image despite persistent concerns regarding human rights violations and potential ties to 9/11 plotters.
The PGA Tour faces an antitrust lawsuit from 11 players who joined the LIV series, which include Phil Mickelson and Ian Poulter, more than their suspension from the traditional North American tour.
Golfing legend and 15-time major champion Tiger Woods rejected an offer worth $700 million to $800 million in the region to join LIV Golf, its CEO revealed on Monday, which has voiced his disapproval of the series at last month’s Open Championship.
Regarding CNBC’s “Squawk Box Europe” on Thursday following Adidas’ quarterly earnings report, Rorsted said no decision had been made on whether the company would 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.”
Rorsted added that Adidas wants to “remain a sponsor of the individual.”
“We have a solid point of view of the players; in essence, we want to ensure that we partner with the best player. We think that is how easy that is.”
Adidas on Thursday posted a 28% year-on-year decline in operating profit for the second quarter, as a suspension of business in Russia, higher supply chain costs, and Covid-19 lockdowns in China dented earnings despite continued strength in North America.