Scottish Firm Standard Life Investments Becomes Ryder Cup's First Global Sponsor
Standard Life Investments "has agreed to be the Ryder Cup’s initial worldwide partner," according to Michael Smith of SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL. The Edinburgh, Scotland-based investment house becomes the first company to acquire rights to Ryder Cups on both sides of the Atlantic. Until the PGA of America and the European Tour initiated a drive to find global sponsors, companies could not hold Ryder Cup rights in both Europe and the U.S. The four-year deal starts this year before the 2014 Ryder Cup at Gleneagles in Perthshire, Scotland, and includes rights in '15-16 to the 2016 Ryder Cup at Hazeltine in Chaska, Minn. Terms of the deal "were not available, but industry sources said that such a global sponsorship was being shopped for high seven figures annually." The global deals are being sold in two-year increments so the partner has a full year lead-in to promote the event. The PGA of America and European Tour hope to have "as many as four worldwide partners for the 2014 Ryder Cup." European Tour Sales Dir Tim Shaw said, "The first one is always the biggest hurdle to overcome. Now we’ve got a blueprint and we hope it will lead to additional global partners coming on board.” Standard Life’s worldwide partnership "will be rolled into two separate contracts," one with the European Tour and another with the PGA of America.
FINDING COMMON GROUND: The European Tour oversees commercial operations of the Ryder Cup when it’s in Europe, while the PGA manages Ryder Cup business when it’s in the U.S. PGA Chief Business Officer Kevin Carter said, "The PGA and the European Tour have been operating under two different business models for a long time, and that’s why it’s taken a while to find a solution. We’ve worked very closely with the European Tour to find a way for Standard Life to have the ability to market here in the U.S. and abroad, and we’ve got something now that elevates the Ryder Cup to a truly global platform, as it relates to sponsorship and marketing.” But after seven months of talks, Standard Life emerged with many of the same hospitality, promotional and on-course rights as Team Europe sponsors in 2014, except that Standard Life will be the only one to call itself a worldwide partner with unique marks in its advertising. Another difference is that 2014 Team Europe partners BMW, Diageo, Ernst & Young and Rolex "will have no rights for the 2016 Ryder Cup in the U.S., whereas Standard Life will again have full partner rights domestically and internationally"(SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, 2/25 issue).