Golf still surviving despite sponsor woes

The global economic woes continue to bear down on golf but the sport appears to be riding out the storm better than most industries.

Certainly, golf has not been immune to the credit crunch with major automaker General Motors pulling out its key brand Buick from two big events. The company also ended an endorsement deal with world number one Tiger Woods, reported to be worth $8 million annually.

However, US PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem said the sport was in reasonably good health, although he expects more sponsors to pull out next season. He was quoted in a Reuters article as saying:

“It’s possible we could lose a couple of events; it’s probable that we’re going to lose some sponsors. We will have a good solid schedule for 2010, we know that. But I think it’s also important to recognise that marketing budgets are still down … it’s certainly going to take a while to improve.”

The case of the Buick Open loss had a happy ending with the Greenbrier Classic replacing it as part of a six-year agreement.

In addition, Finchem reported that many sponsors had actually extended their contracts with various tournaments on the Tour, which is the richest and most prestigious professional circuit in the world.

With the United States showing an inkling of an economic recovery, he is confident that beyond next season, sponsors will start queuing up again.

The fact that golf still has money is reflected in the on-going FedEx Cup play-offs, which concludes this week.

The four-tournament series culminates with a payment of $10 million to the winner, with Woods the big favourite to nab the bonanza.

The European Tour also has a big-money, season-ending event – the Dubai World Championship, which initially offered a $20 million prize pool.

However, recent reports indicated that the sum was cut because of the recession.

One Response to “Golf still surviving despite sponsor woes”

  1. Larry Quah says:

    It has to be attributed to the fact that it’s an immensely popular game which attracts extremely wide TV audiences the world over, Andy.

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