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Volume 24 No. 156

Marketing and Sponsorship

The PGA of America and Omega today formally launch a five-year partnership that designates the Swiss watchmaker as the PGA’s official timekeeper. The unveiling is timed in conjunction with the first round of the 93rd PGA Championship at Atlanta Athletic Club. The deal gives Omega timekeeper designations at several PGA-sanctioned events, including the PGA Championship, Senior PGA Championship and PGA Grand Slam of Golf through ‘16, as well as a presence at the ’12 and ’14 Ryder Cups. Omega has also committed to multifaceted timepiece and facility clock programs that are exclusive to PGA of America’s 27,000-plus members. Rolex had previously been the PGA's official timekeeper since ’94. Omega earlier this week launched an extensive advertising campaign in conjunction with the start of the tournament. The campaign’s television component features spots running on TNT and CBS, while int’l spots are airing on CNN Int’l, BBC World News and CNBC. The commercial features imagery from Atlanta Athletic Club with messaging that highlights Omega’s mission to grow the game of golf on a global level. Print ads have been running in the Int’l Herald Tribune, the Financial Times, Wall Street Journal Asia and the PGA Magazine. Online ads are appearing on, and, which has been running an Omega countdown clock since Aug. 1. The company will entertain guests in an on-course chalet that Omega President Stephen Urquhart described as a “fantastic platform that we can reach out and talk to many consumers.” Urquhart: “The first two days it will be focused basically on consumers who are in the network. Real estate partners, important members of the media, and the second wave, starting Saturday and Sunday, will be more toward the trade and fine retail jewelers.”

WATCH THIS: World Golf HOFer Greg Norman, who began endorsing the Omega brand last year, is in Atlanta helping promote the new partnership, and he said of his relationship with Omega, “They liked what my beliefs were with the game of golf in the Olympics and they loved my beliefs of how we promote the game of golf on the grassroots level.” Norman was very instrumental in helping facilitate a deal between Urquhart and PGA of America President Joe Steranka. Norman felt both entities shared similar goals regarding the growth of the game and they “were both like-minded and powerful brands.” Norman, who began his career as an assistant pro in Australia, said, “I’m a huge, huge fan of the PGA of America ... and I thought it was a great opportunity for Omega." He noted Rolex "had pretty much dominated” the global golf space. Urquhart said golf remains an important part of Omega’s growth as it “provides a perfect statement for our brand.” Urquhart referred to the new pact as “a 365-day-a-year deal” that will allow the company to “do things all year round with all the clubs that are associated with the PGA of America.” He noted golf “is the most played individual sport probably in the world." Urquhart: "It’s by far the biggest sport in the U.S. market for individuals. ... We are talking to tens of millions of people -- who are potential customers -- who are involved with golf, play golf and love the game.” He said Omega is always looking to add more golf properties to its portfolio. Urquhart: “I could name one or two, but I wouldn’t want to. We have one of the four majors, another major would be fabulous to have.”

SHARK WEEK: See tomorrow's issue of the THE DAILY for an extended Q&A with Norman, who talks about the Tiger Woods-Steve Williams situation and the efforts to find a new title sponsor for his Shark Shootout tournament.

EPL club Blackburn Rovers players “will wear the name of the Prince’s Trust charity on their shirts this season,” according to Neil Docking of the BLACKBURN CITIZEN. The Prince’s Trust partnership follows Blackburn's three-year, US$8M deal with Crown Paints, which ended after last season. The new deal will see Blackburn “donate the branding space on their football kit to the national charity, instead of selling it to a new sponsor.” The club is just the second EPL team in history "to have a charity as their main shirt sponsor." Aston Villa "teamed up with the Acorns Children's Hospice Trust in 2008, wearing the charity’s logo for two years.” Blackburn's move also “echoes Spanish giants Barcelona," whose shirts bore the Unicef crest from '06-11. Docking notes it “was thought Rovers owners Venky’s India Ltd would seek a new lucrative deal with a major Indian firm, in line with their aim to raise the profile of the club in Asia.” The team wore Venky’s logo on shirts “in the recent Barclays Asia Trophy matches in Hong Kong.” Prince’s Trust “has strong links to East Lancashire working with hundreds of youngsters particularly in Blackburn and Burnley” (BLACKBURN CITIZEN, 8/11). The Rovers as part of the deal will “fundraise for the charity” (, 8/11). Rovers officials said that “they decided to reject commercial sponsorship offers to link up with the charity” (PA, 8/11).

In Denver, Jason Blevins cited a Red Bull source as saying that action sports star Shaun White is "talking with Coca Cola’s Vitamin Water about a multi-million-dollar deal." White's contract with Red Bull ended after this year's Winter X Games, and he has since "been in discussions with a host of beverage companies, shopping for a deal that bests Red Bull's reported $1 million-a-year contract." The source indicated that White's discussions with Vitaminwater could lead to a sponsorship that makes the Red Bull contract "look like lunch money." Blevins noted White "has been very selective with his sponsorship deals, often demanding total creative control" (, 8/10).

GIVE & TAKE: Sterne Agee analyst Arvind Bhatia estimated that Take-Two Interactive "stands to lose as much as $40 million" if the NBA lockout wipes out the '11-12 season. Bhatia in an investor note issued Tuesday stated that sales of "NBA 2K12" will be "softer than predicted" without an NBA season. However, he "also stated that the 'uniqueness' of NBA 2K12 might be enough to make the game a top-performer, regardless of a lockout scenario" (, 8/9).

GOLD RUSH: NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. on Tuesday "unveiled a special gold paint scheme" for his No. 88 Chevrolet that he will drive in the Sprint Cup Series Irwin Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway on Aug. 27. Earnhardt's car also will "carry a decal marking the 50th anniversary of the speedway." BMS GM Jerry Caldwell said that "this is the first time to his knowledge that a track has ever celebrated its 50th anniversary with a paint scheme" (Kingsport TIMES-NEWS, 8/10).

STAY THIRSTY, MY FRIENDS: Sports drink brand Lucozade "has renewed its partnership" with England's FA "for the next four years." Lucozade "first became a partner to the England team in a three-year deal that began" in September '07. The brand will support "all 24 England national teams over the four-year period, including the men's European Championship qualification campaign and the women’s senior team, due to play against Serbia in September" (, 8/8).

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