SBD/February 29, 2012/Marketing and Sponsorship

Hitting It Off: Pebble Beach Pairing Shows Importance Of Player-Sponsor Relationships

PGA Tour paired Palmer with one of their biggest sponsors at Pebble Beach
The AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am "remains one of the most important events on the PGA Tour, with so many corporate heavyweights that are valuable to tour affairs," and the amateur partners of golfer Ryan Palmer and Jason Bohn are the latest example of that, according to Doug Ferguson of the AP. PGA Tour officials were “looking for a couple of players to be partners with two important clients" --  FedEx Exec VP/Market Development Mike Glenn and Comcast Chair & CEO Brian Roberts -- and the Tour picked two “personable characters" in Palmer and Bohn. FedEx at the time was "in the final stages of renewing its sponsorship" of the FedEx Cup. Palmer said, “They said they wanted us to play with clients, but they didn't tell us who. We got there and found out we were playing with two of the biggest check-writers in the business." Bohn took the “unusual step of emailing their amateurs and inviting them to play a practice round on Wednesday.” Palmer said, "We had a little game with them. We made sure we kept it small. We can't afford what they can. We had lunch in the Tap Room afterward and we hit it off" (AP, 2/28).

FINCHEM MAKING POSITIVE MOVES: ESPN.com's Bob Harig noted nothing is "guaranteed in these economic times," but Commissioner Tim Finchem "again checked off a big item on his to-do list for which PGA Tour players should be grateful." He has "got the network television contract done through 2021, and the FedEx deal secured -- with the possibility of future increases -- through 2017." Although there are "title sponsorships to be renewed, Finchem has kept the tour fully scheduled, either getting current sponsors to come back or filling holes with new ones." It has been an "impressive run, one not to be undersold." Harig wrote, "Now comes another necessary step: improving the FedEx Cup" (ESPN.com, 2/28).
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