IEG In The News

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Promo, September 01, 2007

Richard Tedesco, Promo, Pg. AR26 ISSN: 1047-1707

From opposite sides of the Atlantic, American Express and the Royal Bank of Scotland recently made similar strategic moves, both becoming patrons of the PGA of America.

While there's nothing novel about tie-ins to professional golf, those deals point to a revival in sponsorship spending this year.

Among companies surveyed by Promo for its 2007 Marketing Trends study, 13.8% indicated that sponsorships were one of the top three promotional tactics in their 2006 budgets.

Sponsorship spending is projected to hit $14.93 billion this year, an 11.7% increase over the $13.37 billion invested by U.S. and Canadian companies last year, according to Chicago-based sponsorship analysis group IEG.

That's a faster growth rate than the 10.5% bump reported in 2006 and the 8.9% increase in 2005.

What's more, the percentage of overall marketing budgets dedicated to sponsorships is rising commensurately with expenditures, according to IEG.

Companies are earmarking an average 17% of their total marketing spend, compared with 13% last year. The peak was 18% in 2005.

Moreover, nearly 30% of the companies surveyed plans to devote 20% to sponsorships, compared with 18% of companies making that level of commitment last year.

"It's really picking up steam in this changing media environment with the growing ineffectiveness of traditional media," says William Chipps, senior editor at IEG. "Sponsorships let companies target specific audience groups that they want to reach."

Companies are increasingly focusing on a few large events instead of many small ones, according to Chipps.

The PGA tournament will provide American Express and the Royal Bank of Scotland with a finely targeted audience.

American Express cardholders will get the chance to buy tickets for

PGA tournaments and savor on-site experiences at each event. The perks during a recent PGA Championship included a complimentary one-on-one golf lesson with a PGA pro at the PGA LearningCenter, and a personalized golf-swing analysis.

Amex members can also visit a branded hospitality suite and participate in a silent auction to benefit the PGA Foundation. And they can use a hand-held "myLeaderboard" device on the course to keep track of the tournament competition.

And cardholders will be able to buy a limited number of tickets to the 2008 Ryder Cup at Valhalla Gold Club in Louisville, KY - before they go on sale to the general public - at

"The beauty of the PGA relationship is not at the events themselves, but working with PGA professionals for other sorts of things," says Rich Lehrfeld, vice president of global sponsorship and event marketing for American Express. "Ultimately what we want to do is to build opportunities around lessons or other activities."

That's not all. As part of this "holistic" experience, cardholders can also apply points they accumulate through product purchases to buying golf equipment from select suppliers.

Some of the special benefits for PGA will be available to all cardholders. Other opportunities, such as access PGA tour personalities at hospitality suites, will be available to Platinum members only.

Meanwhile, Royal Bank of Scotland has signed a two-year pact that makes it the official bank of the PGA of America and its championship event.

The bank was the sole sponsor of the PGA Championship History exhibit, a mobile pavilion featuring photos and videos about the tournament, when it debuted at the PGA event.


  • Sponsorship is one of the top three marketing tactics for 13.8% of all companies.
  • Sponsorship spending is expected to approach $15 billion this year.
  • Firms now devote 17% of their marketing budgets to sponsorship (up from 13% 2006).

Top US Sponsors: Companies Spending More than $15 Million



2006 Rank

2005 Rank

$330M-$335M Anheuser-Busch Cos. 1 1
$305M-$310M PepsiCo, Inc. 2 2
$230M-$235M General Motors Corp. 3 3
$225M-$230M The Coca-Cola Co. 4 4
Nike, Inc. 5 5
$175M-$180M Miller Brewing Co. 6 6
$150M-$155M Daimler Chrysler Corp. 7 7
$140M-$145M Ford Motor Co. 8 8
$135M-$140M Sprint Nextel Corp. 9 9
$120M-$125M Visa 10 11
$115M-$120M McDonald’s Corp. 11 10
Source: IEG Sponsorship Report