SBD/Issue 154/Sponsorships, Advertising & Marketing

B Of A Preparing For First Foray Into PGA Title Sponsorship

As it prepares for its first-ever PGA Tour event title sponsorship, Bank of America has "purchased enough advertising to entice the Orlando-based [Golf Channel] to leave its studios and anchor its weeklong programming from Colonial Country Club on May 20-25," according to Jeff Caplan of the FT. WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM, who notes the net "normally reserves that type of on-site coverage for the four majors and special events." BofA Senior VP & Sponsorship Marketing Exec Dockery Clark: "One of the challenges you have is making sure people know you are the sponsor vs. whoever the previous company [MasterCard] was, so this certainly cements that relationship for the two of us." More Clark: "Our whole objective is to give the event high-profile status, even major status if that's what it takes." But Caplan noted The Golf Channel's "role in the marketing alliance might raise some red flags," as the net appears to have "agreed to set apart coverage of Colonial from other non-major PGA Tour events in exchange for a lucrative marketing deal." Caplan added BofA "likely could have saved some of its marketing budget" had it been known earlier that Annika Sorenstam was going to play the event, as The Golf Channel "likely would have set up shop at the club for the full week to cover Sorenstam" (STAR-TELEGRAM, 5/4). But in Dallas, Richard Alm noted Sorenstam's participation and wrote, "The million-dollar question for Bank of America was whether to exploit the opportunity with additional marketing. It chose not to." Clark: "We're proceeding with what we would have done anyway." The Sports Business Group President David Carter agreed with BofA's approach: "One way to screw it up is to overplay it." But Alm noted BofA "plans to invite key clients to Fort Worth for a front-row seat of the Sorenstam hoopla." Clark: "We haven't ignored it. That would be impossible to do. We're very excited about her being here" (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 5/3).

NEC INVITATIONAL: In Akron, Marla Ridenour reported that the World Golf Championship NEC Invitational will reduce ticket prices for the '03 tournament. Daily badges priced at $50 in '01 are now $45, and Championship club tickets and weekly badges "have been merged, with the price now $120." Each also has a 10% discount "if charged to an American Express card." The reductions "have also been passed along to corporate buyers." A championship club 10-pack, which includes 10 tickets a day for the entire week, "is now $1,080, down from $2,500 two years ago." Tournament Exec Dir Tom Strong: "We re-evaluated everything in 2002. The goal was to make it affordable for people to come out. I don't know what golf tournament you can go to for $20 a day" (AKRON BEACON JOURNAL, 5/4).

CHIPS & PUTTS: At last week's PGA Tour HP Classic in New Orleans, John Daly debuted his own 25-foot merchandise trailer, which he plans to haul to all of his U.S. tournaments. The trailer is "stuffed with awnings with all sorts of items bearing Daly's lion-head logo." Items include mugs, hats and head covers. Daly: "I want the people to see what this logo is about, and the prices are all real good" (SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE, 5/6)....The NY State Lottery has signed on to sponsor the June 19-22 Wegmans Rochester LPGA, and consumers with a ticket to Saturday's third round "can redeem it for a free scratch-off ticket" at any Wegmans (DEMOCRAT & CHRONICLE, 5/6).

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