PGA Tour Sees Record $1.11B Revenues In '12 Despite Tiger's Struggles
The golf world "looked like it was about to go through a difficult generational transition" in the wake of Tiger Woods' personal issues and on-course struggles, but the "post-Tiger collapse never happened, thanks to the rise of a flashy new crop of players," according to Matthew Futterman of the WALL STREET JOURNAL. PGA Tour revenues "rose to a record" $1.11B last year, compared with $1.02B in '10, and by "nearly every measure, professional golf became richer, more competitive and more stable." A source said that the Tour's new "nine-year television contract with NBC and CBS," signed in '11 when Woods was "tumbling down the rankings," will pay an average of about $800M annually, a 33% increase over the previous deal. PGA execs in the fall of '10 met with the Tour's ad agency GSD&M to "concoct a way to sell the sport in a post-Tiger world." The resulting "Vs." ad campaign would "highlight younger players" like Rickie Fowler, Bubba Watson and Dustin Johnson "taking on the establishment and trying to break into the sport's elite." As the campaign began, "those players began winning." Golf had "found a new story to tell, and with the economy recovering, sponsors and television partners were ready to listen." PGA Tour Exec VP & Chief Global Communications Officer Ty Votaw said of Woods, "We're happy that he's back and that he's playing well, but we've always felt he spikes off a very strong base." Woods' participation in a final round last year "boosted viewership" by 60%, compared with 118% in '09 (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 4/6). In Boston, Christopher Gasper wrote, "Golf is more interesting with Woods as a central figure, whether you view him as protagonist or antagonist." Woods will "never reach his pre-scandal peak, but if he wins the Masters, or any major this year, then his long climb back is over" (BOSTON GLOBE, 4/7).
A TRADEMARK UNLIKE ANY OTHER: The WALL STREET JOURNAL's John Paul Newport wrote Augusta National Golf Club is "famous among golf companies for how tightly it controls its trademarks." TaylorMade Exec VP Sean Toulon said, "You certainly can't use the word Augusta or the Masters or pretty much anything you'd like to use. They are very protective of the marks they have and we totally get that and are respectful of that." But Newport wrote that "doesn't prevent TaylorMade from coming out each year with special 'Season Opener' bags for its players to use during the tournament, each done up in the Masters' well-known green, white and yellow color scheme." TaylorMade also makes a "green-accented 'Season Opener' Adidas shoe." Toulon: "We don't sell a lot of them. It's really more a way to connect ourselves to the most important, most authentic week of the year." Newport noted most of the other "big manufacturers also make special-edition products coordinated with the Masters." Augusta National "holds or has applied for more than 50 trademarks" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 4/6).