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World no. 1 McIlroy joins Nike in blockbuster deal

Published on Jan 15, 2013 6:13 AM
Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland speaks during a presentation unveiling him as Nike's new ambassador in Abu Dhabi, with the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in the background, Jan 14, 2013. World golf number one McIlroy wants Ireland's Paul McGinley to be Europe's 2014 Ryder Cup skipper, rather than Colin Montgomerie, with a decision on the captaincy due on Tuesday. -- PHOTO : REUTERS

ABU DHABI (AFP) - World No.1 Rory McIlroy on Monday confirmed he had signed on with sportswear and equipment giant Nike in a deal believed to be one the biggest sponsorship contracts in sport.

With the Abu Dhabi Grand Mosque lit up in the background, McIlroy stepped onto a stage wearing the Nike swoosh and revealed the clubs he will take into competition starting at this week's Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship in the UAE capital.

No exact details of what the deal was worth were released, but press reports have estimated it could bring the 23-year-old Northern Irishman up to US$250 million (S$306.4 million) over 10 years.

"Growing up I always thought all the best athletes in most sports were Nike players and I'm looking forward to joining the Nike family," he said. "I began testing the clubs late last year at the Nike factory in Texas and I could not be more happy. Hopefully now using Nike I have an even better year than last year. Last year was great winning a second major Championship and getting to No.1 in the world and this year I feel I can go to a new level and higher than I ever had and hopefully more majors."

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