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SBD Global/July 25, 2012/Marketing and Sponsorship

Open Winner Ernie Els Eyes A World Of Appearance Opportunities

South African golfer Ernie Els is looking to cash in on his first major victory in 10 years.
Ernie Els' agent is in discussions about appearance fees with representatives from about a dozen int'l tournaments, including several in Asia, after the South African golfer won the Open Championship, his first major in 10 years, on Sunday. "There is a lot of interest in Australia, China, Hong Kong, Singapore, and, of course, South Africa, where he is from," said Vinny Giles, Els' agent and principal of Pros Inc., a Richmond, Va.-based golf agency. Els currently has endorsement deals with Callaway Golf for equipment, and corporate sponsors SAP, Royal Bank of Canada, Boeing and Upper Deck. Giles would not comment on how much Els, 42, earned from his corporate sponsors for winning the Open, but Giles acknowledged that, as is typical with most top golfers, Els had bonuses in his contracts for winning a major tournament. Giles: "You could assume a guy like Ernie, in the realm he is in, he is looking at a very nice, seven-figure payday. He will make more (in endorsement bonuses) than he did in prize money from the British Open." Els got $1.4M in prize money for winning the Open Championships.

INTEREST IS BOOMING: Giles said he has received interest from corporations since Els won the Open about new deals, but noted that the golfer does not have a lot of space for additional signage because of his long term relationships with his existing partnerships. Giles: "Right now, I don't see that there is any urgency to add corporate sponsors." Giles added the way Els can capitalize on his British Open win is through appearance deals. Tiger Woods is believed to command the highest appearance fees in golf and Giles estimated that Woods' starting fee would be at $1.5M and go up to about $3M. Giles: "I would say I would think Ernie would be looking at a minimum of $500,000 and I would say in most cases it would be at least double that. He was already being asked to play some places with very nice appearance fees, but as they say in the game ... the price of poker just went up."
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