SBJ/Nov. 18-24, 2013/Marketing and Sponsorship

Long-distance connection: AT&T extends Pebble Beach National Pro-Am title sponsorship until 2024

Editor's note: This story is revised from the print edition.

The PGA Tour has been pushing title sponsors to extend their deals for longer terms, and AT&T apparently was listening.

The longtime title sponsor of the Pebble Beach National Pro-Am has agreed to extend its contract with the tour for an unprecedented 10 years. The new deal will keep AT&T with the tournament through 2024.

AT&T, whose previous deal was set to expire in 2014, has been title sponsor of the February tournament since 1986. Financial specifics were not available, but title sponsorships typically go for $6 million to $8 million a year.

Most title deals in the past have gone out three to four years, but as the tour has gone into renewal talks in recent few years, it has sought longer terms. Greenbrier recently extended its title sponsorship to 2021, while Humana, Zurich, Farmers and SBS go out to 2019. Bridgestone, a World Golf Championships sponsor, recently extended to 2018.

Because most of the advertising on the tour’s telecasts comes from its title sponsors, locking down these long-term agreements is important to both the tour and its TV partners, CBS and NBC/Golf Channel.

Two of the biggest title sponsorship deals on the horizon in 2014 are Accenture, a WGC sponsor of the match-play event, and BMW, a sponsor of the third FedEx Cup playoff tournament.

One of the longest-running tournaments on tour, the Pebble Beach National started in 1937 and has raised $110 million for its charities.

The tour also plans to announce that it has reached an extension with Anheuser-Busch to keep its Michelob Ultra brand as an official marketing partner. A-B has activated with Michelob Ultra for nearly 20 years.

Blaise D’Sylva, A-B’s vice president of media, sports and entertainment marketing, described the tour as one of the company’s “premier sponsorships for nearly two decades.”

Michelob Ultra and another A-B brand, O’Doul’s, activate at close to 55 tournaments across the PGA Tour, Champions Tour and Web.com Tour through A-B’s wholesalers. Official marketing partnerships can cost anywhere from the low seven figures to high seven figures, based on the amount of media and other assets included in the package.

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