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Volume 26 No. 7

Marketing and Sponsorship

Maezawa, pictured with PGA Tour exec Ty Votaw, hopes to incorporate fashion and IT into the event
Photo: PGA TOUR

Japan will "host its first-ever PGA Tour event starting next year" with Zozo, one of the "fastest growing online business companies" in the country, as the tournament’s title sponsor, according to Kaz Nagatsuka of the JAPAN TIMES. The six-year deal begins next season, and the Zozo Championship will have a "field of 78 players" and will "make its debut" Oct. 24-27, 2019. Zozo Founder & President Yusaku Maezawa said that he and his company "have not come up with any concrete ideas yet, but that they hope to make the Japanese PGA Tour event a unique one by taking advantage of its expertise." Maezawa: “We are a company that deals with fashion and IT. We would like to abundantly use those for the tournament, making it a fashionable and technological (event), something the world has not seen before” (JAPANTIMES.co, 11/20). The AP's Stephen Wade notes the event will be part of the PGA Tour's "swing through Asia along with stops in South Korea and China," as it replaces the CIMB Classic in Malaysia. The Tour said that the deal was "driven partly" by the '20 Tokyo Games and golf’s "high profile there" (AP, 11/20).

LONG-TERM PARTNER: In Jacksonville, Garry Smits noted RSM signed a "five-year extension" for its title sponsorship of the RSM Classic on St. Simons Island, Ga., which was held last week. RSM has "sponsored the tournament since its inception" in '10. The company has "two years left on its current sponsorship deal, which means the extension will take it" to the '25 tournament. Davis Love III is the tournament host, and his foundation is the "main beneficiary of charitable proceeds" (FLORIDA TIMES-UNION, 11/19).

RAZOR THIN MARGIN: In Norfolk, David Hall notes women’s shave brand Pure Silk will become the title sponsor of the "newly renamed" LPGA event at Kingsmill Resort in a three-year deal, beginning in '19. The agreement "ends a long, wide-ranging courtship that often ended in near-deals with national corporations." Resort officials expect that having a title sponsor "will allow the tournament to put more money back into the community." The tournament, now the Pure Silk Championship, was "formerly known as the Kingsmill Championship" (Norfolk VIRGINIAN-PILOT, 11/20).

Halak and Brian's have experimented with the bear claw scratch graphic for several seasons
Photo: GETTY IMAGES

Ontario-based Brian's Custom Sports, a hockey equipment company that "uniquely deals only with goaltending equipment -- and only pads, gloves and chest protectors at that," is a "trailblazer in the unique world of customized goalie gear," according to Cat Silverman of THE ATHLETIC. The "wait time for a pair of custom pads" from Brian's currently sits at 14 weeks. Former NHLer Sean Burke was an "early Brian's customer," as were Trevor Kidd, Felix Potvin and the late Ray Emery. Bruins G Jaroslav Halak has "been with Brian's for nine years now." This season, Halak's pads have a "set of bear claws on the front of each, giving some Bruins inspiration to the graphic." Brian's has experimented with a "scratch graphic" for Halak season after season, "changing up the sizing and switching from a single scratch across the entire set to scratches on both pads." Maple Leafs G Garret Sparks might be Brian's "most time-consuming customer, designing his equipment down to the smallest stitching colors and logos." Sparks sends Brian's designer Chris Joswiak sketches to "kick off the consult for his gear each season, and from there it's a back-and-forth more meticulous than the planning of a wedding." Despite the long process, Brian's gear concept "only seems to be getting more popular with more pro goaltenders wearing their pads than ever before." Earlier this year, the Coyotes announced they were "bringing back their most famous logo" for every Saturday home game this season. After that announcement, it "didn't take long" for Coyotes G Antti Raanta to "seek out the OK" from the team's equipment manager to order a set of Brian's pads (THEATHLETIC.com, 11/19).