Former Sponsor Oakley Sues Rory McIlroy

By Community | December 18, 2012

Oakley, a former sponsor of World No. 1 golfer Rory McIlroy has begun legal proceedings for breach of contract, according to an ESPN report.

McIlroy promoted golf clothes manufactured by Oakley, which also makes sunglasses.

McIlroy was signed with Oakley through Dec. 31.

According to a lawsuit filed last week in federal court in Santa Ana, Calif., Oakley tried to use its “right of first refusal” to match the Nike offer, but McIlroy and his agent, Conor Ridge, ignored the counteroffer, thereby breaching the Oakley-McIlroy contract, ESPN reported.

McIlroy announced this year that he would be leaving longtime equipment sponsor Titleist, but he has not commented on whether he has signed with Nike. That deal with Nike is reported to be $200 million.

ESPN’s report says Oakley claims the damage that has resulted from McIlroy’s refusal to renew “irreparable” and entitles the company to an injunction that would stop Nike and McIlroy from concluding or implementing their contract. Oakley also says it has spent $300,000 for a photo shoot on products McIlroy would have endorsed in 2013.

McIlroy’s management company, Horizon Sports Management, which he signed with in 2011 after bolting International Sports Management after four years, told “McIlroy has fulfilled all of his obligations to Oakley, and the claims in the lawsuit are entirely baseless.”