By Barry Janoff
January 27, 2017: The Ladies Professional Golf Assn. wants people to know that it is "A Global Tour Like No Other," a mantra that will resonate in marketing, during events and via multi-platform activation throughout the 2017 season.
"Two clear themes have emerged on the LPGA: global and youth," Jon Podany, LPGA chief commercial officer, said in a statement. "The global reach of the LPGA can be seen in everything from our players, fan base, sponsors, partners, tournament locations, and what these players are accomplishing in their teens is truly amazing."
The 2017 season includes players from 33 countries. Last season saw 18 winners from 12 different countries.
The average age of LPGA tournament winners in 2016 was 22.3, and seven of the top 10 players in the current Rolex Rankings are under the age of 24, according to LPGA.
The push comes as the LPGA is seeking to boost its brand and presence worldwide.
The 2017 schedule includes four new tournaments to a total of 35 (13 outside of North America) and an increase of $4.35 million in total official prize money to a record $67.35 million, according to the LPGA.
Among the top-ranked LPGA golfers, Ariya Jutanugarn and Lydia Ko earned more than $2.4 million in 2016, Brooke Henderson more than $1.7 million; and In Gee Chun, Sei Young Kim, Shanshan Feng and Anna Nordqvist topped $1.4 million in earnings.
Last year, the LPGA and PGA Tour formed a long-term, “strategic alliance to further promote the growth of golf." Golf also got a global boost when it was part of the Summer Olympics for the first time since 1904. (Gold went to Inbee Park of South Korea, Silver to Lydia Ko from New Zeland, Bronze to Chinas’s Shanshan Feng.)
Worldwide sponsorship spend on golf topped a record $1.8 billion in 2016, up 5.1% from the $1.7 billion spent in 2015 and up some $500 million from 2010, according to research firm IEG, Chicago.
The campaign will air on LPGA’s international television partners, including CBS, NBC, ESPN, TNT and Golf Channel, on LPGA.com and via the LPGA’s social media platforms, including YouTube, Twitter and Facebook.
Lead agency is Divot Group, Austin.
The campaign features two 30-second spots that stress the diversity and youth theme.
"How Do You Describe A Champion Golfer" has the golfers describing themselves: "5’8” 6’ 5’2”. Soft-spoken. Outspoken. Multiple languages spoken. Vegetarian. Pescetarian. Steak-loving carnivore. Yoga fan. Weight lifting. Trophy lifting."
"Young" focuses on Ko, who turns 20 in April (and to date has earned more than $7.3 million in career winnings),19-year-old Henderson and Jutanugarn, who just turned 21. "We’ve walked these fairways for years. Met fans from every corner of the world. Won some big tournaments. Competed at the Olympics. Won a few majors.We’re not kids anymore . . . But we refuse to let age slow us down. We’re staring 20 right in the face."
So-called veteran players are also in the spotlight.
Callaway Golf just signed Michelle Wie to be a company staff pro (she preciously used Nike but the company no longer produces golf clubs, balls or bags). Her deal includes marketing and using Callaway clubs and ball, and an Odyssey putter on the LPGA Tour. Wie, 27, became the youngest female player to compete in a PGA Tour event when she was 14, and turned pro when she was 16.
"The global reach of the LPGA can be seen in everything from our players, fan base, sponsors, partners, tournament locations."
Daytona beach, Fla.-headquartered LPGA national marketing partners include ANNA Airways, Arpin Van Lines, Kia, Leaders Cosmetics, National Car Rental, Northeastern University, Prudential, Rolex, Smucker and Tiffany.
"We wanted to showcase these aspirational aspects of our Tour and give fans an opportunity to see our players in a different light beyond swinging a golf club," said Podany. "Which hopefully will encourage women and inspire girls around the world to play golf and experience the LPGA."
PGA Tour, LPGA Become A Media-Marketing Twosome
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