SBJ/July 21-27, 2014/Leagues and Governing Bodies

PGA Tour expands its retail presence with lifestyle products, new store concepts

For the past decade, the PGA Tour has worked with Perry Ellis to create the tour’s own private label for apparel.

But in recent months, the tour has begun to expand its range of private-label lifestyle products to include footwear, headwear, cologne, belts, wallets and socks to create a stronger brand presence at retail.

“We’re in the process of really developing the PGA Tour’s private label into several areas that we believe will connect with the consumer,” said Tim Hawes, the tour’s senior vice president of retail licensing.

These new tour-branded lifestyle products are coming out just as the tour is looking

The PGA Tour is working with licensees to expand its tour-labeled restaurants and stores.
Photo by: PGA TOUR (2)

to expand its presence in department stores, including Macy’s and JCPenney. Retail is quickly becoming a platform that the tour says is growing and vital to its branding strategy.

With a new array of private-label goods, the tour has begun creating prototypes of the store-within-a-store concept for retail outlets. Such settings inside department stores would feature most or all of the tour’s products while also expanding its footprint.

The tour’s presence at retail has enjoyed a sharp uptick in the past year. Not only is the tour growing its own line of branded products, but it is also working with licensees to expand its tour-labeled stores and restaurants.

Licensee HMSHost has been behind the development of the new PGA Tour Grill, which launched earlier this year in airports at Honolulu and San Diego. A new location at the Las Vegas airport is set to open later this month, and a Boston location is in the works.

Those restaurants specialize in health-and-wellness menus with the slogan “Eat smarter, play harder.” The tour anticipates more than 20 restaurants in airports across the country in the next five years.

The PGA Tour Superstore also has been in expansion mode. The tour issued the “superstore” license to Arthur Blank’s Golf and Tennis Pro Shops six years ago, just as the economy was failing, but the business has rebounded in recent years.

The number of brick-and-mortar Superstores is expected to grow from its current 19 to 22 by the end of the year, 40 by the end of 2016, and 80 by 2020.

Those stores average close to half a million visitors a year.

The tour’s original retail effort — its airport shops — launched 25 years ago and now features 35 locations. The licensee for the PGA Tour stores, Paradies Shops, is the tour’s longest-running licensee.

Those retail extensions of the PGA Tour brand have contributed significantly to the tour’s growth in gross licensing revenue, which reached $850 million in 2013. That was up from $770 million in 2012, and the push in 2014 likely will challenge the $1 billion mark, Hawes said.

The significant growth the tour expects domestically might be complemented outside of the U.S. borders. Hawes said the tour is actively talking to prospective licensees for all three categories in Europe and Asia.

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