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Volume 20 No. 42
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Mercedes, Omega spread out for activation

This year’s PGA Championship at Quail Hollow will usher in a new strategy of on-course activation for top-level PGA of America sponsors.

Gone will be the large, stand-alone tents used by patron-level partners Mercedes and Omega for fan experience activations at past events. Instead, smaller, on-course display areas for both brands will be deployed, including new space inside the 43,000-square-foot merchandise tent, to allow for more integrated on-site fan activation.

“The big tents are not going to be there anymore,” said Kevin Ring, chief revenue officer for the PGA of America. “From a fan experience, we felt it was a better way to be more authentic. It shows our partners understand that from a use of space, it is the best way to do it.”

Only patron-level PGA of America partners Omega and Mercedes have activation rights at the tournament. The PGA of America’s 40 other partners are expected to have hospitality at the event.

Another sponsorship change at this year’s PGA Championship is the departure of Samsung, which did not renew its patron-level partnership after last year.

Despite the move away from the large tent displays, both Omega and Mercedes will activate heavily at the PGA Championship.

Mercedes will have fleet displays inside the merchandise tent and at various locations at Quail Hollow, as well as hospitality and a loyalty parking lot for Mercedes car owners. The company will host a VIP experience with private hospitality along the 18th green, and will host about 150 dealers and top customers per day at the tournament. Engine Shop is handling the on-site activation for Mercedes, which has been a PGA of America sponsor since 2009.

Omega’s new activation efforts this year include branding around the entrance of the merchandise tent, an Omega shop inside that tent, an on-course chipping challenge, and the completion of its inaugural yearlong Omega Golf Trophy sweepstakes where winners will attend the tournament. In addition, Omega endorsers Rory McIlroy and Sergio Garcia will be included in an activation that has a lunar rover golf buggy moving around various locations at the Quail Hollow Club. Omega, which has been a PGA of America sponsor since 2011, would not disclose which agency is handling its on-site activation.

“This year we felt it was better to bring Omega to where the action is,” said Omega President and CEO Raynald Aeschlimann in an email. “We wanted to move the activation closer to the fans, so it felt more connected to the whole PGA experience. The event is all about what happens on course and we wanted to be a part of that buzz, not removed from it. This will certainly have more impact.”