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SBD Global/November 1, 2013/Marketing and Sponsorship

Big Brands Pass On Signing Sponsorship Deals With LPGA Golfer Lydia Ko

In the same week that golfer Lydia Ko "made her boldest statement yet" about playing for New Zealand for life, that very move "could cost her big money," according to Matt Richens of FAIRFAX NZ NEWS. At least a couple of major golfing brands "have passed on signing Ko, partly because they do not believe they will get a financial return from her." That "seems strange" as she has won four professional tournaments, including two on the popular LPGA, and has often been referred to as "women's golf's hottest property." But an industry insider said that there "wasn't the endorsement bang for the buck in women's golf." The insider said, "Especially from someone in New Zealand." When asked if Ko's mother and Manager Tina Hyon was expecting and asking for too much from endorsement deals, the insider said, "that could well be the case." He said when Hyon worked out why companies "might be" passing on her daughter, she would look at switching allegiances back to Korea, the country of Ko's birth. The insider said, "She [Hyon] will at least investigate it I believe." It makes sense that Korean companies "would be more interested in Ko if she were playing as a Korean, though there are plenty of strong women golfers from Korea." Ko said that she "had yet to sign a management deal or any major endorsement deals, while Hyon was unable to be reached for comment" (FAIRFAX NZ NEWS, 10/30).
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