SBJ/August 31 - September 6, 1998/No Topic Name

PGA Tour has big plans to market brand

The PGA Tour for years has lagged in licensing its brand name, but golf's governing body of touring professionals is slowly making up for lost ground.

"[The PGA Tour brand] has been underutilized," said Bob Combs, PGA senior vice president of communications. "But we've become much more focused about the management of our brand."

In 1993, the PGA Tour had about a dozen licensee agreements, most of which were short-term deals generating negligible revenue. Today, the tour has 60 national and international licensees.

Even with the slew of deals, licensee sales account for less than 2 percent of the tour's $400 million in total revenue.

The PGA Tour's licensing numbers aren't even close to those of other major professional sports. The NFL generates more $3 billion in licensing revenue and the NHL — which, like PGA Tour golf, has about 100 million fans — brings in about $1.1 billion in licensee revenue.

"At this time, [licensee revenue] is not a major income source, but it has the potential to become a decent income producer," said Leo McCullagh, vice president of retail licensing and consumer marketing for the PGA Tour.

The PGA Tour's typical demographic is a 47-year-old male with a household income of $70,000 who plays golf six times a year.

"Right now we are focusing on building our brand with consumers that we may not reach in other ways," McCullagh said.

The latest licensing deals reflect that strategy.

At the recent PGA International Golf Show in Las Vegas, the tour announced a licensing agreement with International Childrenswear, a Birmingham, Ala.-based manufacturer of children's clothing.

That deal will be followed next week with the expected launch of the long-awaited Tiger Woods PGA Tour 99 computer video game.

This year, the PGA Tour will have purses totaling around $90 million with purses expected to be $125 million in 1999, thanks in part to a new four-year television deal.

The tour also expects to generate more revenue through the expansion of its Tournament Players Championship courses and through 40 PGA Tour airport stores.

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