EA Sports Made a Great Early Bet With Rory McIlroy

Nike might want him now, but EA Sports was the brand that bet early on Rory McIlroy, the young golfer from Northern Ireland who won the U.S. Open this weekend—following great runs at the Masters and the British Open. Last summer, EA took the interesting step of adding McIlroy, then just 20, to the cover of its Tiger Woods PGA Tour 11 videogame. After Woods' indiscretions and career meltdown, it seemed wise, to say the least—and what a prescient call on the part of EA. McIlroy sure looks like the future, and EA got in on the ground floor.