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SPONSORS STAYING WITH LPGA BECAUSE IT HELPS THEM SELL
Published May 31, 1995
Sponsors of the LPGA Tour have "maintained a unified front" in the aftermath of CBS commentator Ben Wright's alleged remarks that corporations shy away from the sport because of lesbians on Tour, according to David Markiewicz of the DETROIT NEWS. GM Oldsmobile took out a full-page ad in USA TODAY supporting the Tour, and execs from McDonald's, Sara Lee, Chrysler and other companies said they "invest in LPGA sponsorships simply because it's good marketing; they can reach the affluent female (and male) consumer they covet, and at a lower cost than men's golf." Tom Nelson, a spokesperson for State Farm Insurance: "When we decided to get involved in women's golf, (lesbianism) was never an issue, never discussed." Oldsmobile spokesperson Gus Benz points out the advertiser-friendly demographics of the LPGA, and said nearly 49% of Olds' new car buyers are women, "making the LPGA a good fit." Steve Ellis, an editor at GOLFWEEK magazine, contends the game won't be influenced by the latest publicity: "I look down the LPGA tournament schedule and I see the names of a bunch of Fortune 500 companies, and I don't feel this thing with Ben Wright will have any effect on them or their sponsorship. These CEO's are smart" (DETROIT NEWS, 5/29).