SBD/November 30, 2010/Marketing and Sponsorship

Cadillac Announces Its Title Sponsorship Of WGC Event At Doral

The PGA Tour and Cadillac yesterday formally announced a multiyear deal for the GM brand to become the title sponsor of the WGC-Cadillac Championship, as well as an umbrella sponsor of the WGC. The '11 tourney will be played at TPC Blue Monster in Doral, Fla. The umbrella sponsorship provides Cadillac with extensive branding and advertising across the four-event series (Cadillac/PGA Tour). GOLFWEEK.com's Gene Yasuda noted the title sponsorship "plugs a sponsorship vacancy that was created when CA decided to leave the event." The PGA Tour and Cadillac yesterday also confirmed that they are "seeking to grow their partnership, possibly by having the luxury auto brand support a new" event in Detroit (GOLFWEEK.com, 11/29). PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem yesterday said that "Cadillac has assured him that it will be 'fully engaged' at Doral within the next few weeks." GM last year "ended its half-century run as sponsor of the Buick Open golf tournament near Flint, Mich., as it cut expenses while under bankruptcy court protection." Buick had been the "longest-standing corporate sponsor on the PGA Tour and once had its name on four tournaments." Cadillac VP/Marketing Don Butler said, "It's safe to assume from today's announcement and from how we're positioning the brand that Cadillac will be the face of golf for GM going forward." The AP's Tim Reynolds reported the new sponsorship is the "first of several Finchem is expected to reveal in the coming days." The PGA Tour's '11 schedule, with 47 events, will be released Thursday, and Finchem said "one or two" will not show a title sponsor (AP, 11/29). Finchem said that the Tour is "looking at multiple golf courses" near Detroit for a possible new Cadillac-sponsored event. A source indicated that Detroit Golf Club "was a possibility for an event as soon" as '12 (FREEP.com, 11/29).

MONSTER BASH: Finchem said that there "was never any chance" the tournament at Doral "would've been dropped from the 2011 PGA Tour schedule or as one of the four WGC events." Finchem: "It's too important to us. This is a big event in a very important market and a very special golf course that goes back decades. There was never any chance it wasn't going to happen in 2011" (MIAMI HERALD, 11/30). In West Palm Beach, Edgar Thompson notes it "took awhile" for the PGA Tour to find a new title sponsor, but Finchem "found an eager replacement in Cadillac." Finchem: "Any time in a downturn it takes longer to get things done. We have a great partner, so it was worth the wait." He admitted yesterday's announcement was "not the best-kept secret," as SportsBusiness Journal reported the partnership in October (PALM BEACH POST, 11/30). In Orlando, Jeff Shain writes for GM, this is a "bold move back into golf marketing after stepping aside to shore up a financial crisis." For Doral, it "lands a brand that may end the revolving door on its marquee since Ryder System Inc. ended its sponsorship" in '00 (ORLANDO SENTINEL, 11/30).

COMING OUT OF DOWNTURN STRONG: Finchem said the PGA Tour "went through some unusual things" over the past two years. Finchem: "Obviously, you had some companies that went bankrupt. You had unusual involvement of the federal government, et cetera. But the business-to-business platform and ... the value stream that emanates from our tournaments to sponsors from a branding standpoint and an advertising standpoint is very, very strong. That's carried us through other downturns. That's certainly the case and we're excited" ("Power Lunch," CNBC, 11/29).

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