SBD/Issue 135/Sponsorships, Advertising & Marketing

’05 Masters Marks Return Of Sponsors After Two-Year Absence

Johnson Claims That The Masters
Does Not Need Corporate Sponsors
With advertisers making their return after a two-year hiatus from The Masters, Augusta National Golf Club will “reap roughly $14[M] from” ExxonMobil, SBC and IBM, according to a source cited by John Steinbreder of GOLFWEEK. Coca-Cola and Citigroup are absent from this year’s tournament after they “were dropped as sponsors along with IBM before the 2003 tournament in an effort to shield them from activist Martha Burk’s campaign against the membership policies of Augusta National.” Sources said that the three new sponsors’ “international scope ... and their record on women’s rights contributed to their selection.” One source said Augusta “likes international companies, like ExxonMobil and IBM. That was one of the reasons why they severed the Cadillac relationship some years ago. It just wasn’t multinational enough to market the Masters brand around the world.” SBC spokesperson Larry Solomon said of issues concerning the lack of female members at Augusta, “We based our decision to do this on sound business and marketing rationale. We are sponsoring the Masters ... and club policies are a matter for the club” (GOLFWEEK, 4/9 issue).

HAPPY RETURN: Augusta National Chair Hootie Johnson said that The Masters “could have gone on ‘indefinitely’ without sponsors.” But in Pittsburgh, Gerry Dulac notes Augusta “wants to expand its practice area by 2010 ... and it will be an expensive project.” Johnson: “This will be pretty demanding financially. It would stretch out a long time without sponsors, so we are happy to have them” (PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE, 4/7). Johnson, on sponsors returning to Masters TV coverage on CBS and USA: “I do not think four minutes an hour for commercials is an imposition on our viewers” (GOLFWEEK, 4/9 issue).

FOR MORE: For news around TV coverage of this year’s Masters.
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Related Topics:

CBS, Coca-Cola, General Motors, Golf, IBM, Viacom

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