SBD/April 8, 2013/Marketing and Sponsorship

McIlroy Heads Into Augusta With New Multiyear Sponsorship Deal With Omega

McIlroy's deal with Omega likely includes a combination of cash, product and incentive
Omega has signed Rory McIlroy, giving the world’s No. 2 golfer a watch deal to replace Audemars Piguet and giving Omega a giant win over one of its chief competitors in the luxury watch category. Switzerland-based Omega, also a PGA of America corporate partner, counts Greg Norman, Sergio Garcia and Michelle Wie among its ambassadors. Terms of McIlroy’s deal were not available, but industry insiders said watch deals typically range from the low- to mid-six figures, based on the stature of the player. McIlroy would be at the high end of that range, and the deal likely includes a combination of cash, product and incentive. He will be used year-round in Omega’s print and TV advertising and social media, said Omega President Stephen Urquhart. Omega keeps the momentum going for McIlroy, who signed a 10-year, $250M deal with Nike starting with the '13 season. The Nike agreement includes head-to-toe apparel and equipment. McIlroy’s play has suffered so far after switching clubs from Titleist to Nike this year as Tiger Woods overtook McIlroy atop the official world golf rankings last month, though McIlroy did finish tied for second yesterday at the Valero Texas Open. However, McIlroy remains a hot commercial property. Urquhart, who was in San Antonio this past weekend to complete the deal, described McIlroy as a player who is good for the sport. Urquhart and McIlroy enjoyed a private breakfast on Friday morning as they discussed their future plans. “There’s a certain sincerity with Rory. People genuinely like him. He’s very natural and he’s not the kind of guy to take success for granted”

NOT PUT OFF BY SHAKY START: Urquhart said he was not dissuaded by McIlroy’s playing problems or the incident earlier this year at the Honda Classic where he walked off the course and later apologized. Urquhart: “People say he’s No. 2 now and I just say, ‘Come on, get a life.’ Rory’s in his early 20s. In some ways, this will be good for him long term.” Urquhart added that McIlroy will make his first visit to Omega’s HQs later this year as part of the deal. Urquhart: “Rory is cutting edge and young and he brings a younger fan base. We have a print campaign that will launch (this week) and we will use him on a constant basis, not just when he wins.” Urquhart said the origin for the relationship with McIlroy began in '11, when the two played together in a pro-am. Even though Urquhart acknowledged that McIlroy was under contract with Audemars Piguet, the two began a friendship that ultimately led to the deal with Omega. Urquhart said, “You could say this is two years in the making. I continued to run into Rory at our tournaments (the Omega Dubai Desert Classic and the Omega European Masters) and at the Ryder Cup. You never know.”
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