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SBD Global/January 21, 2013/Marketing and Sponsorship

Nike Golf Signs South Korean Noh Seung-Yul To Take Bigger Bite Of Korean Golf Market

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Korean golfer Noh Seung-yul, entering his sophomore year on the PGA Tour, has "taken the baton from Tiger Woods and Michelle Wie to try and turn Nike Golf’s fortunes in Korea around," according to Kang Seung-woo of the KOREA TIMES. However, it remains to be seen if Nike, a late-comer to the golf business, "will see the same success it is enjoying in other sports" in Korea, like basketball and football, and "appeal to those who have the perception that its golf equipment is not of the same quality as that of more established rivals such as Titleist or Taylormade." Nike Golf Korea GM Kim Dong-ook said, "Nike put a lot of effort into finding a Korean golfer who can fit the Nike image. The Noh contract is a kind of marketing tool that Nike Golf will use in order to strengthen its presence in Korea." An official of Nike Golf Korea’s public relations team said that "the brand will be able to get closer to consumers behind the Noh deal." The official said, "Nike Golf’s commercial activity and marketing was based around foreign athletes, so there may have been a sense of distance between Korean consumers and Nike." According to the December issue of Golf Magazine Korea, Nike Golf "failed to make the top 10 in the 2012 brand marketing rankings, which Taylormade topped for the third-straight year." Kim said that "its low recognition is due to the unique characteristics of the sport in Korea rather than just its short history. However, he expects "to see Nike’s brand value grow in Korea with the sport becoming more popular." He said, "With younger people starting to play golf, the perception toward Nike Golf is gradually changing" (KOREA TIMES, 1/20).
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