SBD/June 16, 2011/Marketing and Sponsorship

New USGA Apparel Partner Polo Puts Its Mark on Merchandise Pavilion At U.S. Open

Polo is in the first year of a five-year deal as the USGA's apparel partner

Polo Ralph Lauren is “dressing up” the U.S. Open at Congressional this week with a “redesigned 36,000-square-foot merchandise pavilion, new styles that commemorate the U.S. Open, and an upscale feel to the shopping experience inside a tent that looks nothing like a temporary structure,” according to Michael Smith of SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL. Polo has "long had a presence" in golf, but this is its first year as the USGA’s apparel partner under a five-year agreement signed in October. In addition to providing “at least half of the product for the pavilion, Polo will be outfitting 5,500 volunteers, more than 300 USGA staffers and about 1,100 USGA committee members on-site.” Nike, adidas, Ashworth and other golf apparel makers also “will have space in the pavilion," which is located “next to the 17th hole, near the main entrance for spectators.” Polo “does not pay a traditional sponsorship fee to the USGA,” and Polo’s expenses are “built into the construction and design of the merchandise pavilion." Polo said that it is advertising in Golf Digest and the New York Times, but “does not plan a media buy on the tournament’s broadcast partner, NBC” (SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, 6/13 issue).

DIGITAL DRIVE: American Express has launched its new Course Curator digital service that is available during this week's U.S. Open. The Course Curator gives AmEx card members suggestions on where to find the best action, concessions, analysis and guest services, based on personal preferences. The device also features the official ESPN Radio broadcast of the tournament, presented exclusively by AmEx. Card members also have exclusive access to hand-held televisions, powered by FanVision, that deliver updated player information and a live telecast of the on-course action, as well as commentary and updates from ESPN Radio. In addition, the company is hosting the American Express Hospitality Chalet on the 11th hole (AmEx).

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