SPONSORS STAYING WITH LPGA BECAUSE IT HELPS THEM SELL
Sponsors of the LPGA Tour have "maintained a unified front"
in the aftermath of CBS commentator Ben Wright's alleged remarks
that corporations shy away from the sport because of lesbians on
Tour, according to David Markiewicz of the DETROIT NEWS. GM
Oldsmobile took out a full-page ad in USA TODAY supporting the
Tour, and execs from McDonald's, Sara Lee, Chrysler and other
companies said they "invest in LPGA sponsorships simply because
it's good marketing; they can reach the affluent female (and
male) consumer they covet, and at a lower cost than men's golf."
Tom Nelson, a spokesperson for State Farm Insurance: "When we
decided to get involved in women's golf, (lesbianism) was never
an issue, never discussed." Oldsmobile spokesperson Gus Benz
points out the advertiser-friendly demographics of the LPGA, and
said nearly 49% of Olds' new car buyers are women, "making the
LPGA a good fit." Steve Ellis, an editor at GOLFWEEK magazine,
contends the game won't be influenced by the latest publicity: "I
look down the LPGA tournament schedule and I see the names of a
bunch of Fortune 500 companies, and I don't feel this thing with
Ben Wright will have any effect on them or their sponsorship.
These CEO's are smart" (DETROIT NEWS, 5/29).