SBJ/January 17 - 23, 2005/Marketingsponsorship

UBS banking on PGA Tour

The PGA Tour has signed worldwide financial firm UBS to a six-year deal to be an exclusive sponsor of the tour-owned Tournament Players Championship. UBS joins PricewaterhouseCoopers as one of two such sponsors of the event, and will receive integrated marketing and hospitality opportunities as well as ad spots on the NBC and ESPN telecasts. PricewaterhouseCoopers has been associated with the event since last year.

No additional sponsors will be sought. The UBS and PricewaterhouseCoopers deals are not title or presenting deals, precisely, but the sponsors’ intimate association with the event is made clear.

PGA Tour and UBS executives would not disclose the value of the deal. Because the event is considered the tour’s top property in the combination of cachet, field and purse, the deal is likely to be similar to a title sponsorship, which can range between $4 million and $7 million per year, including media.

The 2005 championship will be held March 21-27 at the Tournament Players Club at Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. The event is held two weeks before the Masters — top players view it as a Masters tune-up — and it typically attracts a large group of tour sponsors and other corporations as the top springtime PGA Tour event in Florida.

UBS is a large sponsor of sailing and cultural events worldwide, and the PGA Tour deal adds to its stable of golf events, such as the UBS Cup, the Evian Masters (it is one of four co-sponsors) and the UBS Golf Trophy, a worldwide series of 130 tournaments.

“The Players Championship has the right positioning for us,” said Christof Marti, global head of sponsorship for UBS, which is based in Zurich and Basel. “It is viewed as an ‘A’ tournament, and that is how we want to see UBS positioned. And, of course, the event has a huge presence in the media, not only in the U.S. but also outside the U.S.”

UBS has offices in 50 countries.

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