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Jumeirah Group ends sponsorship with McIlroy, setting the stage for him to join Nike

Jumeirah Group has announced that it is not renewing its five-year sponsorship deal with top-ranked Rory McIlroy amid expectations that the Northern Ireland golf star will sign with Nike next week.

The global luxury hotel company based in the United Arab Emirates signed a five-year deal with McIlroy when he was 18 and was one of his first corporate sponsors.

The announcement allows McIlroy to pursue a lucrative endorsement contract, with strong indications that he will sign with Nike in a deal that one industry observer estimated at $20 million a year. That would give Nike golf's two biggest stars in McIlroy and Tiger Woods, who has been with the swoosh since he turned pro in 1996.