Turning Pro And Landing Endorsements - Which Road To Take? (Part 2)
Part 2 - With the influx of young, talented professional golfers making their way on to the LPGA Tour, it’s clear that many of them have opted to drop out of college and turn pro early. While they are following in the footsteps of numerous players who left school before graduating and went on to have lucrative careers as Touring Pros, there’s more than one road to success that sponsors (and LPGA sponsors looking to expand their presence with golf fans) may consider when recruiting players to represent their brands.
This is the second of four blog posts following four players who took different paths to the LPGA Tour.
Go to college and earn a degree while playing a full schedule on the Tour
What makes Michelle Wie’s graduation from Stanford University so remarkable is the fact that she was already a rising star on the LPGA Tour and very wealthy when she decided to go back to school after she was accepted to Stanford. And she knew that her golf game would suffer as she balanced her tournament schedule and sponsor priorities with the rigor of a full course load at a prestigious university in order to graduate at the same time as her classmates. When all was said and done, Michelle earned a bachelor's degree in communications and as the Golf Channel's Jason Sobel duly noted in one of his columns, still managed to win two LPGA tournaments while a student at Stanford.
As we wrote in a previous blog article that referenced the Solheim Cup, there’s “no quit” in Michelle Wie whether it’s on the golf course or in the college classroom at Stanford. And that’s a character trait that should rub off on any of Michelle’s current (e.g. Michelle Wie 2011 sponsors included Nike, Kia, McDonald's, Omega, and DirectBuy) and potential sponsors as her story of success – adversity – and more success continues to unfold.
So, Michelle’s recent accomplishment off the golf course may very well be appealing to a select group of new sponsors who place a premium on education and are likely to consider her ability to set goals, structure her schedule and follow through to completion as assets that will spill over to her tournament play and can be leveraged in a marketing deal.
And it’s very possible that Michelle’s existing sponsors may also want to capitalize on her academic achievements. (Michelle’s new Kia commercial - A New Way To Roll) aired on the Golf Channel during the telecast of the Kraft-Nabisco even after she missed the cut!) Stay tuned.
Michelle (known as "The Big Wiesy" on the Tour) was recently interviewed by David Feherty on his television show, Feherty, which airs on the Golf Channel. In the last segment, David conveyed to the audience his regrets that he was so hard on Michelle’s parents for letting her turn pro when she was very young. Having followed Michelle’s career for quite awhile, he complimented them on the way they’ve raised her and thinks she’s a great role model for his young daughter regardless if she ever wins another trophy on the LPGA Tour.
For more about the road map to Michelle’s very successful career as a junior, amateur and professional golfer, go to LPGA / Michelle Wie.
A player with a college degree from a prestigious university is a marketable asset that may appeal to a small but exceptional group of companies which place a premium on higher education.
A player’s star power and appeal as an ambassador for the game as well as the player’s record of accomplishment in tournaments are important ingredients when determining his or her marketability from a sponsor's standpoint.
Our colleague, Bill Colvin, Colvin Sports Network, is constantly working with his corporate clients and their Golf Ambassadors to help them get the most from their golf sponsorships. You can reach Bill directly by phone: 216-272-7779, via email: firstname.lastname@example.org and you can also follow him on twitter: billcolvin.
To learn more about how our strategic partner, Colvin Sports Network, serves as an advocate for companies exploring marketing opportunities with professional golfers, click on the button below.
Photo Credit - LPGA Star Michelle Wie: golfchannel.com