For nearly a year and a half, the PGA Tour has been leading a full-court press to get golf included in the Olympics, beginning with the 2016 Games.
But even if it’s successful, the Tour isn’t expecting to reap immediate and direct benefits – as in picking up an Olympic sponsor or two. Rather, tour officials envision the iconic Olympic rings – or better yet marketing halos – to make golf, in general, a more attractive, global sponsorship vehicle.
Indeed, golf’s potential to attract sponsors for the IOC and its TV partners played a significant role in earning the IOC executive board’s recommendation for inclusion, according to PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem. The entire IOC is scheduled to cast a final vote on Oct. 9 in Copenhagen.
“The IOC is a sponsor-centric entity, much like golf,” said Finchem, who Aug. 26 discussed golf’s Olympic bid prior to the start of the FedEx Cup Playoffs. “A huge amount of revenue is sponsorship, either directly or indirectly; directly through their corporate partners at a huge price point, and then eventually they are also reliant on the extent to which their television partners could sell sponsorship. I don’t want to over state, but I think the history of golf in this area is very, very positive.”
As for netting a quick windfall, Finchem said: “I don’t think so. I mean, if you look at the configuration of the sponsorship of the Olympic Games, it’s companies that we already talk to. I don’t think there’s much for us there, and No. 2, I think we are largely sponsored already. Even though we will have some turnover on this downturn, we are already working hard to fill those gaps.
“But I do think that the texture of the game is richer to some extent with golf in the Olympics. . . so I think it will help us possibly globally with sponsorship, even though it may not be a direct interface with some sponsor that happens to be at the Olympic Games.”