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Volume 24 No. 237
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Grant Thornton Signs With PGA Tour, Rickie Fowler; Replaces PwC As Players Partner

Chicago-based accounting services firm Grant Thornton is deepening its investment in golf with a five-year official marketing partnership deal with the PGA Tour that includes a top-tier “proud partner” five-year sponsorship of The Players and a separate endorsement deal with Rickie Fowler. The deals begin in January and signal the company’s increased spend in golf that previously was limited to hospitality at the PGA Championship and the Ryder Cup. The company’s deal with Fowler is its first player endorsement deal, with Fowler wearing the Grant Thornton logo on the right chest of his shirt. He will also be included in the company’s national advertising efforts. Grant Thornton replaces PwC as a top-level sponsor of The Players, joining Optum and Morgan Stanley as the tournament’s “proud partner” level sponsors. Typical “proud partner” deals include hospitality, on-course signage and a significant media presence during the tournament’s broadcast given that advertising is limited to Proud Partner level sponsors. The deal with the PGA Tour designates Grant Thornton as the official professional business services partner and includes a media buy throughout the year on Tour TV broadcasts. “It is a rich landscape for us,” said Carol Tarver, head of sponsorship marketing for Grant Thornton. “Over the past few years, we have made significant strides in the sports space.” Financial terms were not disclosed. Grant Thornton also has six MLB team deals and two NBA team deals.