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Volume 20 No. 42

Leagues and Governing Bodies

The national governing body for golf has launched a website and begun the search for sponsors.

The USA Golf Federation, spearheaded by the PGA Tour’s Andy Levinson, established its home page on a network of NGB pages that are hosted at The umbrella site offers governing bodies a template to follow in designing each of their sites. USA Golf supplies the content and imagery.

The USA Golf site went live last week and will carry content aggregated from the group’s partners in the United States: the PGA Tour, LPGA, PGA of America and U.S. Golf Association. Golf, which has been absent from the Olympics since 1904, will be an Olympic sport in 2016.

The USA Golf site went live last week.
Most of the images on the site show golfers attired in red, white and blue, the colors they wore while representing the U.S. in Ryder Cup or Solheim Cup competitions. Soon, Levinson hopes, there will be USA Golf sponsors to feature on the website.

Levinson, the executive director of USA Golf and a full-time employee of the PGA Tour, where he oversees anti-doping efforts, will lead the sponsorship sales. He formerly worked in the tour’s business development and marketing divisions and will lean on that experience to start the sales process.

Levinson said he’s not ready to name a range of what sponsorships will sell for because he’s not sure exactly how much money he needs to raise.

“I’m out there talking to tennis and basketball and [governing bodies for] other sports to find out what we need,” Levinson said last week from his office just down the hill from TPC Sawgrass, home of the Players Championship. “The [U.S. Olympic Committee] provides some funding, but we’re looking to provide an elite-level experience, just like what the players have at the Players Championship. We want to make sure they have access to physical therapy and the best trainers. We want them to be able to play within their routine.”

In addition to exposure on the USA Golf site, sponsors will have rights to use the USA Golf mark. Other assets are being developed.

USA Golf also will select an apparel partner. Polo Ralph Lauren outfits the U.S. Olympians for the opening and closing ceremonies, while Nike has rights for podium wear when Olympians win medals.

“There’s a whole education process with golf in the Olympics,” Levinson said, adding that the website will be a key tool for USA Golf to tell its story.

“Our goal is to be able to cover the experience of the Olympic athletes in golf and contribute to the development of future Olympians. Now we just have to figure out a way to pay for this thing,” Levinson said with a laugh.

Procter & Gamble closed a multiyear sponsorship with the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association, giving the consumer packaged goods company its first winter national governing body agreement ahead of the Sochi Olympics.

The deal, which sources valued at more than $1 million over two years, gives P&G the rights to activate at USSA events and use the USSA logo in marketing materials ahead of the Olympics. It also aligns the company and its brands, which range from Duracell and Gillette to Tide and Pampers, with Team USA’s best-performing winter NGB ahead of the 2014 Olympics. The company, which is an International Olympic Committee and U.S. Olympic Committee sponsor, is in talks about having several USSA athletes serve as product endorsers.

“Given our partnership with the USOC and overall Olympics program — the sports, athletes and activation opportunities within USSA are a natural fit for us,” said Matt Hollenkamp, P&G’s North America sports marketing manager, in an email. “USSA events will make up over 50 percent of the medal opportunities in Sochi.”

P&G took a similar approach to its Olympic marketing around the London Games. It signed an agreement with USA Gymnastics and used the sponsorship to promote its “Thanks, Mom” campaign. It also featured U.S. gymnast Jordyn Wieber in marketing materials leading up to the 2012 Olympics.

Hollenkamp said the company is still developing its marketing plans for Sochi. Its brands are expected to make independent decisions about how to use the sponsorship.

The deal is the second sponsorship USSA has cut with a USOC sponsor ahead of the Sochi Games. It signed a sponsorship deal with Kellogg’s earlier this year.

Adding USOC sponsors was a priority for USSA Chief Marketing Officer Mike Jaquet. When he joined the organization last year, only one of its 24 sponsors, Visa, had the ability to promote its affiliation with USSA during a Winter Games because of IOC rules preventing non-Olympic sponsors from featuring Olympians and Olympic sports during that period. That cost the organization and its athletes exposure when the country was tuning in to watch their sports.

“The big reason to target the USOC sponsor roster is to integrate our athletes and sports into national branding campaigns that can continue to air and be active during the Olympics,” Jaquet said. “That’s a really key thing we can’t do with most of our sponsors. Adding P&G and Kellogg’s really allows us to increase our exposure and build some scale.”

The USOC supported Jaquet in his talks with P&G and continues to encourage sponsors to activate by sponsoring NGBs, said USOC chief marketer Lisa Baird.

“We’re seeing a positive trend among our partners who want to increase the impact of their sponsorship by developing relationships with NGBs,” Baird added. “They’re seeing the value of it, and what I love about USSA is Mike is demonstrating awesome creativity.”

The WTA should reap more than $75 million in total value from its five-year deal, announced last week, to place its season-ending championships in Singapore from 2014 through 2018.

World Sport Group’s Andrew Georgiou (second from left) and WTA’s Stacey Allaster with Singapore executives
That figure includes prize money to be paid to players ($6.5 million in year one), rights fees to the WTA, and marketing from the Singapore tourism group hosting the event.

WTA Chief Executive Stacey Allaster declined to say specifically how much the tour would receive but said it was more than the $14 million annually the circuit now enjoys from its deal with Istanbul. That deal ends after this year.

Including the new Singapore event, recent sponsorships, and a new European TV deal, Allaster said the WTA has raised $200 million in committed funds in the last several years.


Asked whether the tour would be better off in New York, where the championships event enjoyed some if its greatest success during its 1979-1990 run there, Allaster responded, “We had a terrific run in the [Madison Square] Garden, no doubt.” But, she added, at that time the tour was a North American-based operation. With the addition of Singapore, the WTA will now have more events in Asia-Pacific than any other area of the globe, underscoring the migration of tennis away from the United States.

The WTA decided to go with a five-year term in Singapore instead of the three-year runs in Istanbul and, before that, in Doha, Qatar, because more time is needed to build momentum, Allaster said. In Istanbul, year one was about getting started; year two was counted as a huge success; but now year three is about saying goodbye.

The Singapore event will includes singles, doubles, legends and future stars and will occur at a $1 billion sports hub now under construction.

Lagardère unit World Sport Group, with support from the Singapore Sports Council and the Singapore Tourism Board, represented Singapore in securing the bid.