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Volume 22 No. 12
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Hyundai Genesis rolls into PGA Tour event

The PGA Tour stop trades Northern Trust for the Genesis nameplate.
Photos by: GETTY IMAGES
Hyundai plans to feature its new Genesis luxury brand as title sponsor of the longtime PGA Tour stop at Riviera Country Club starting next year.

It marks the first sports sponsorship for Genesis. The brand’s selection comes after Hyundai announced in January that it would replace Northern Trust as the California tournament’s title sponsor, part of a shifting of sponsorships that affected several events.

Hyundai since 2011 had been title sponsor of the PGA Tour’s Tournament of Champions event in Hawaii, but it moved its PGA Tour tournament deal to Riviera after Northern Trust reached a deal to slide its event title sponsorship starting next year from there to the fall FedEx Cup playoff event that has been sponsored by Barclays.

No new title deal has been reached for the 2017 Tournament of Champions event.

The newly named Genesis Open will be held Feb. 13-19 next year, with the Tiger Woods Foundation serving as the tournament’s host. The event has been held at Riviera since 1973 and has been played at various sites in and around Los Angeles since 1926.

Hyundai launched its Genesis brand last year. It has plans to add six new models to the car line by 2020.

“It is our first big coming-out announcement that we are here in a big way and we plan on having a big footprint in America,” said Erwin Raphael, general manager of the Genesis brand in the United States. “We know how significant the tournament is. The demographics of golfers and people who watch the tournament are precisely the demographic we want to go after. We are still working on developing the activation. We want to get golfers in our vehicles.”

Financial terms of Hyundai’s multiyear deal were not disclosed. For Genesis, the spotlight on that brand follows gourmet food retailer Dean & DeLuca using golf for its first sports sponsorship earlier this year. It became title sponsor of the PGA Tour’s Fort Worth, Texas, tournament (the event formerly known as the Crowne Plaza Colonial) in a six-year deal.

Hyundai/Genesis is the PGA Tour’s third auto title tournament sponsor, joining Honda, which sponsors the Honda Classic, and BMW, which sponsors the BMW Championship, a FedEx Cup playoff event.

Innocean Worldwide is the agency of record for Hyundai, which has its U.S. headquarters in Fountain Valley, Calif. That’s about an hour south of the site of the tournament it now title sponsors.

The PGA Tour did not use an agency for the deal.

“We are thrilled to be part of the campaign to introduce the brand globally,” said Brian Oliver, senior vice president of corporate sponsorships for the PGA Tour. “Hyundai has been a partner a long time, and the event makes sense given that they are headquartered in the Los Angeles market and they have an event that has been on tour since 1926.”