SBD/Issue 177/Sponsorships, Advertising & Marketing

PGA Of America Lands Four-Year Deal With Whirlpool’s KitchenAid

Whirlpool’s KitchenAid appliance brand has signed a four-year deal making it the PGA of America’s first “official home appliance,” as well as presenting sponsor of the Senior PGA Championship through '14. The 71st Senior PGA Championship will be played this week at Colorado Golf Club in Parker, Colo. KitchenAid will have minimal activation there, but will ramp up efforts for future tournaments, starting with the '11 Senior PGA Championship at Valhalla Golf Club in Louisville, while also including the Senior PGA Championships in '12 and '14 to be hosted at The Golf Club at Harbor Shores in Benton Harbor, Mich., where KitchenAid is headquartered and helping to develop a not-for-profit golf community. Under the deal, KitchenAid gets ad units on NBC Sports and Golf Channel, while also receiving hospitality, retail pass-through rights, on-site signage and pro-am participation. Aside from a few smaller golf tournaments it was associated with a few years ago, KitchenAid has not been active in sports marketing. KitchenAid Senior Manager of Brand Experience Deb O’Connor: “We’re an iconic American brand and this event, and the PGA, are the same way. And it’s a home town play, since we’ll have the event there twice. It’s just a new way to connect with our consumers and retail trade, and we’ll use our new association in advertising." PGA of America CEO Joe Steranka: “We like to think of ourselves as the organization that represents the entire sport, so an association with an appliance brand should be powerful when you think as golf as a lifestyle.” As for the golf business now compared to a year ago? Steranka: “We never subscribed to the statement there was this huge slump. In the past two years, two of the toughest retail years, our rounds played were down 2%. Overall revenue in the golf course business was down 6%. We signed our biggest automotive deal (Mercedes) and replaced RBS with RBC. So with KitchenAid in the fold, we’re feeling pretty resilient."

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