SBJ/February 11-17, 2013/Marketing and Sponsorship

Rolex partners with World Golf Hall of Fame

The World Golf Hall of Fame has taken a “less is more” approach to sponsorship over its 15 years, with Shell serving as its only primary sponsor, but the hall has found a new partner in Rolex.

The timekeeper already has endorsement deals with many of the World Golf Hall of Fame’s inductees, including Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player, Tom Watson, Annika Sorenstam and Phil Mickelson. That helped trigger an interest from Rolex in the St. Augustine, Fla.-based hall, near Jacksonville.

Terms of the contract were not available, but it is a multiyear deal.

“This will provide Rolex with the opportunity for some great message integration, given its relationships with hall of famers and now the hall,” said Jack Peter, chief operating officer at the World Golf Hall of Fame. “We’ve been talking to them for probably the past year. The hall is a unique animal. We’re not like a golf tournament with all those hours of network TV, so it really does take a natural fit.”

Rolex will place its recognizable clocks around the hall’s campus at the World Golf Village, the same clocks that the timekeeper uses at many golf championships it sponsors in the U.S. and Europe.

Details are still being discussed to determine just how much of a presence Rolex will have at the annual induction ceremonies each May.

Peter hopes that the Rolex deal will propel the hall’s sales efforts. He leads those efforts for the hall and works with the sales and marketing team at the PGA Tour and other golf properties for cross-selling opportunities.

Shell has been on board as a founding partner since the hall opened in 1998. Others, such as Nextel and Ketel One, have had sponsor relationships with the hall over the years, but are not currently partners.

Peter would like to see the sponsor list grow to four or five blue-chip companies.

“What we do is represent the game and recognize greatness, so whoever we partner with must share those same ideals,” Peter said.

Rolex will have the designation as the hall’s exclusive timepiece. Peter said the hall did not engage any other companies in the watch category during its talks with Rolex.

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