SBD/July 14, 2011/Marketing and Sponsorship

Mercedes-Benz Eyes Bigger Sponsorship Footprint In Golf

Mercedes serves as sponsor for three of golf's four major tournaments
Mercedes-Benz’s sponsorship of the British Open “is part of a bigger push into golf” by the carmaker, according to Jack Ewing of the N.Y. TIMES. Mercedes in ’08 “began a major push into the sport” and has been a sponsor of three of golf’s four major tournaments -- the British Open, the Masters and the PGA Championship. The company “has its sights on” the U.S. Open, the other major, “once Lexus’s sponsorship deal expires in 2015.” Mercedes’ push into golf “represents a challenge to BMW, which sponsors the PGA European tour as well as numerous other golf events.” Consulting firm Sport+Markt noted that BMW “continues to outspend Mercedes in golf.” Sport+Markt found that BMW “remains the biggest golf sponsor," spending $55M, followed by Mercedes with $30M and Volvo at $21M. But unlike BMW, which sponsors “a range of sports, Mercedes is concentrating its international sports budget on golf and auto racing, a sport with obvious links to the product.” Mercedes has turned to golf “at the expense of tennis.” Mercedes managers said that they are “convinced that golf is acquiring a younger and hipper image, and that it is growing in popularity in Asia, where luxury car sales are soaring” (N.Y. TIMES, 7/14).
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