Padres' New Sponsorship With TaylorMade Includes Giant Golf Club On Foul Pole
The Padres have installed an 88-foot-tall replica of a TaylorMade golf club on the rightfield foul pole at Petco Park as part of a "three-year advertising agreement" with Carlsbad-based TaylorMade-adidas Golf, according to Tod Leonard of the SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE. The club, a "replica of TaylorMade's R11 driver that debuted in January and is distinguished because the club's head is white," will make its debut at tonight's Phillies-Padres game. TaylorMade VP/Brand & Product Marketing Bob Maggiore said, "I don't recall anything being as cool as this one is for us." Padres President & COO Tom Garfinkel: "The best thing about this is that it's a San Diego company supporting the team." He added, "My first reaction is that it looks like a real golf club. They did a great job." Leonard notes Padres VP/Creative Partnerships Dan Migala "originated the idea of the golf club after initial brainstorming sessions." Golfer Natalie Gulbis, a TaylorMade endorser, "will be on hand Thursday at Petco to hit limited-flight golf balls on the field, and she'll throw out the ceremonial first pitch." Padres manager Bud Black is "scheduled to visit TaylorMade's headquarters Thursday to meet with employees" (SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE, 4/21). The WALL STREET JOURNAL's Jared Diamond writes the Padres "may be setting a new gold standard" for in-stadium advertising (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 4/21).
WORKING WITHIN THE RULES: MLB.com's Corey Brock reported Padres and TaylorMade officials worked with MLB's baseball operations team "to ensure the design and installation of the R11 driver are in accordance with MLB guidelines," considering the foul pole is fair territory (MLB.com, 4/20). SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL's Fisher & Smith report MLB rules "dictate that foul poles must be yellow, or orange in the case of the New York Mets' Citi Field," and the "consistent tubular shape of foul poles does not lend itself to the widening shaft and grip of a golf club, prompting the Padres and TaylorMade to line up the driver just inside the right-field foul pole at Petco Park." Maggiore said, "We had to match the dimensions of the shaft and grip and build it to scale." TaylorMade will "retain rights in the deal to change out the driver for other products in future years." There also is a charitable component to the agreement, as TaylorMade "will donate $600 for every Padres home run to Solutions For Change, a San Diego-based nonprofit aiding the homeless" (SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, 4/25 issue).