How Sponsors of Pro Golfers Can Benefit From Olympic Golf (Part 1)
Part 1 - In your role as a CMO, you think your company should, at the very least, explore ways to capitalize on the IOC’s announcement that golf will return as an Olympic sport in 2016 and 2020.
In researching golf’s return to the Olympics at the 2016 summer games in Rio, you learned the following from The PGA Tour:
- The competitors will qualify for the Olympic competition through the Official World Golf Rankings. The fields will feature 60 men and 60 women.
- The International Golf Federation is considering a model that has the top 15 players in the Official World Golf Ranking qualifying automatically (with no more than four players per country) and then no more than two players per country outside of the top 15.
- The number of countries will be determined by where players are in the Official World Rankings at the time of the deadline but a recent projection shows 60 players from 35 countries on the men’s side and 60 players from 34 countries on the women’s side.
- The proposed format is individual 72 hole stroke play event (in line with golf's 4 majors) with the top three scores earning a medal for the individual player.
You also think your company’s support of the Olympics could be an opportunity to promote and grow the great game of golf here in the USA and globally in advance of the 2016 summer games.
In this first of three blog posts, we will look at two of four options your company might consider depending upon its current positioning. They are:
Olympic Sponsors With Golf Ambassador Programs
If you’re already an Olympic sponsor and have a golf ambassador program, your company is in a good position to fully leverage this asset leading up to the games in Rio.
By way of example, Michelle Wie (who started playing golf at the age of four) and Sergio Garcia (appeared in Omega's first commercial promoting golf in the Olympics) are golf ambassadors for Swiss watchmaker and Olympic sponsor, Omega. If one or both of them make their respective Olympic teams, Omega could show support for their players leading up to the games and exploit their association through win ads if either of them win gold medals for their respective countries.
Based on players' comments, it appears winning an Olympic gold medal would mean more than winning a major golf championship. In addressing the IOC shortly before their vote in October, 2009 and noted on pgatour.com, Michelle Wie said:
"I can dream about doing something that neither Tiger nor Ernie (Els) have ever done, and that is to make the final putt to win an Olympic gold medal. If this dream comes true, somewhere in the world there will be another 4-year-old who sees me on that podium and perhaps starts her own Olympic dream."
Omega could also entertain the idea of adding more golf ambassadors to their roster based upon the players’ likelihood of playing in the Olympics in 2016. And with more than 30 countries fielding Olympic golf teams, a sponsor can select from a pool of talent that is truly global.
It was noted earlier that the top 15 players in the Official World Rankings would qualify immediately. With that said, does anyone think that pro golf players Rory McIlroy , Bubba Watson, Rickey Fowler, Yani Tseng and Lexi Thompson won’t be playing for their respective countries four years from now when the games are held in Rio?!!!
And if you've recently seen the HBO Real Sports segment on South Korean Golfers, you can bet South Korea will be well represented at the 2016 Summer Games too.
Olympic Sponsors Without Golf Ambassador Programs
Perhaps, you are a U.S. company that is using their Olympic sponsorship as a platform to leverage the repositioning of their brands and authentically link them to the Olympic athletes they sponsor through storytelling. And their title sponsorship of a proprietary event within an event will serve as a bridge between the summer games in London in 2012 and the summer games in Rio in 2016.
Given the above, this Olympic sponsor could explore the possibility of expanding their sponsorship with the USOC to include professional golfers. If the sponsor has flexibility, they could pick players from the PGA and LPGA Tours who have the best chance of making the USA Golf Olympic team and are a good fit for their golf ambassador programs.
Our strategic partner, Bill Colvin , is constantly working with his corporate clients to help ensure the success of their golf sponsorships. In fact, many of the golf ambassadors he recruited for his corporate clients have served in that capacity for five years or more.
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.
To read the second part of this article, go to How Sponsors of Pro Golfers Can Benefit From Olympic Golf-Part 2