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Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Golf Industry feeling the pinch? I don't think so

USGA and the WORLD GOLF FOUNDATION get Desperate!

Bloomberg reports: The Golf industry is feeling a desperate urge due to the economy. The organizations plan to generate 700,000 new Golfers to play 5.7million rounds of Golf. A spokeswoman from  Nike (hmmm?) stated "the plan may generate $700mil in spending on the sport by 2013." The new initiative will be called, "Golf Get Ready." Lessons start from $99. (I think it's time to buy my wife, Monica and my father a holiday gift, but inadvertently that would be for me).

Yes!! TOUGH ECONOMIC times, me of all people know about this statement, but do any of you getting the feeling, that since our Government (or lack of) decided to create a bail out package to Wall Street; everyone is claiming they are in need of a "bail out?" Auto industry, entertainment, NFL and their loan problems, now Golf. Golf? Are you serious? Even Hollywood is complaining about the crunch. How can the Golf industry be hurting? Here is something interesting I found:

Golf Sponsorship To Reach $1.36 Billion In 2008

October 04, 2008:
Spending on golf remains healthy despite shaky economy

Chicago, Ill. — North American-based companies will spend an estimated $1.36 billion to sponsor pro and amateur golf tournaments, sanctioning bodies and related events in ’08, up nine percent from $1.25 billion in ’07, according to IEG Sponsorship Report, the world’s leading authority on sponsorship.

The increase is due in part to some golf properties expanding opportunities for more robust partnerships beyond traditional hospitality packages and tournament title deals.

For example, the U.S. Golf Assn. in ’06 launched a new corporate partnership program, around which it has signed four partners, two of which are new this year.
IBM Corp. announced a four-year partnership with the USGA in ’08. Among many components of the deal, Big Blue helped re-launch as a platform to demonstrate its digital technology expertise.

In addition to IBM, the USGA signed a four-year partnership with the Royal Bank of Scotland in a deal estimated at $3 million a year. The USGA’s other corporate partners are American Express Co. and Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc.’s Lexus division.

Tell me folks? What has changed for the USGA in a month? Why are they feeling desperate? To me it looks like Marketing/PR executives in the Golf industry are looking to capitalize on the weak economy. Everyone is crying wolf! Invariably, they are telling me, with all the TV coverage, avid fans and golf revenue increased from Tiger al, the USGA in a month has already allocated or squandered millions of dollars of sponsorship funding?  Excuse me, billions?

No doubt the USGA is the greatest golf association in the world. The most opportunistic association for new golfers and pros to be in. I understand the initiative behind the marketing strategy, but don't use the economy and " feeling the pinch" as a platform for a promotion. The USGA quotes Barack Obama, using his quote for their benefit. "A sense of urgency in a downward economy." Well it wasn't too downward 4 weeks ago when you received a billion dollars, was it?

This will not be the last, mark my words. We are already seeing consumer giants and corporations such as THQ, Lions Gate, GM, Circuit City publicly declaring lay offs and negative quarter earnings, but these false statements and excuses targeted at the economy won't be the last. These statements from the USGA won't be received in sympathy or prove to a golf fan/player like me, that you are in turmoil. Have any of you tried to get on a local course in LA on the weekend? The USGA is not short on cash and have no need to be desperate or urgent. More ridiculous news and reports will surface in the next few months from other companies I guarantee it, AND you'll be able to read about it right here.

Q & A:

Do you believe the Golf industry is in urgency? Can you explain where the $1.3 Billion dollars was allocated and essentially lost?

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