The unique commerciality of The Masters
By Danny Townsend
One thing that continues to make The Masters special is the traditional and pristine manner by which it presents golf to the world. Much like Wimbledon for tennis, during The Masters you will see little on-course sponsorship branding. Indeed, the Tees, caddies, flags and perimeter boards are all free of logos other than the now famous Masters mark. For other leading golfing events, these brand placement opportunities are key drivers in generating additional exposure for commercial partners and as such, additional revenue for the events itself.
For the official sponsors of The Masters, this reduction in clutter means there is plenty of clear air for when they are in a position to activate. The exclusivity this strategic commercial approach generates leads to heightened levels of brand value.
Exclusivity for a Masters’ sponsor is key and given the clear space lack of on course ‘noise’ for brands to activate, this commercial strategy demonstrates what a huge ‘Business to Business’ (B2B) play The Masters is. The exclusivity provides sponsors with exceptional privileges around access where hospitality and ticketing for key business partners and clients drives incredibly valuable B2B opportunities. Indeed, it is the “money-can’t-buy” experiences that fuel B2B leverage for sponsors and there is no more exclusive ticket than a ticket to The Masters. This, coupled with the added brand and image transfer these partners receive from being associated with intellectual property of The Masters, means the event is one of the best value propositions for the prospective sponsoring corporate.
This type of model is unique and only sustainable for events like the majors in Golf and Tennis, which enjoy the viewership of premium audiences.
Because of this approach, organisers of The Masters are able to attract sponsors of the highest caliber, whilst leaving their own brand to take centre stage. It also continues to build on The Masters’ story of history and authenticity.
In comparison, golf events like The Phoenix Waste Disposal Open offer a completely different example of a golf event which plays heavily on purely the entertainment side of golf. The commercial approach reflects this too; gone is the authenticity and high brand value associated so profoundly with The Masters. This is not to say there is no place for the entertainment based approach in Phoenix – this is equally a unique proposition in golf valued highly by the right brands. It does however, only go to strengthen the uniqueness of what the Masters is all about.
Never say never but it is hard to see The Masters with a title sponsor any time soon. The Masters are sacrosanct. It is an event so lucrative in other commercial revenue streams as aforementioned that the need to drive sponsorship revenues becomes a secondary objective.