SBD/Issue 57/Sponsorships, Advertising & Marketing

USGA Signs American Express As First Corporate Partner

The USGA has signed AmEx to a multi-year deal as its first corporate partner in its 112-year history, according to Scott Hamilton of SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL. Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but the agreement gives AmEx “access to the organization’s 13 national championships and members’ programs, as well as use of the USGA logo in advertisements and a presence on USGA Web sites.” The partnership will “roll out this week through a series of ads and cardholder communications announcing a special ticket package for AmEx members.” Current cardholders will have the opportunity to buy tickets to the ’07 U.S. Open that also “grant access to the USGA’s Trophy Club hospitality area.” USGA CMO Barry Hyde said that the association’s goal is to “secure four cornerstone corporate partners” and that the USGA is “specifically targeting an auto manufacturer.” Hamilton notes Rolex signed a multi-year deal in June to be a “project-specific marketing partner” (SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, 12/4 issue). USGA Exec Dir David Fay said, “We hope this is the beginning of a long relationship with AmEx. For some of those elements of the USGA that don’t get much publicity, we hope this relationship helps us.” While Woods has not yet extended his deal with AmEx, he “made a series of phone calls last week to talk about” the company’s USGA deal. Officials said that U.S. Open fans “likely won’t notice the partnership while watching the tournament.” AmEx U.S. Consumer Cards Services Group President Jud Linville: “We’re not going to be slapping logos all over the place. We’re trying to broaden the appeal of the game” (AP, 12/4).

TEEING OFF: The USGA and AmEx run a full-page ad in today’s USA Today promoting the ticket offer. Two images of Tiger Woods, an AmEx endorser, are included in the ad (THE DAILY).

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American Express, USGA

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