Magazine article American Banker

MasterCard Golf Sponsorship on Upswing

Magazine article American Banker

MasterCard Golf Sponsorship on Upswing

Article excerpt

In terms of sponsoring professional golf, MasterCard has gone from a putter to a driver.

The Purchase, N.Y.-based association has signed a long-term agreement with the PGA Tour to be a corporate sponsor and event sponsor on some of its tours.

This follows an agreement MasterCard made in May 1995 to sponsor the Colonial tournament in Fort Worth and the PGA Grand Slam of Golf. Also last year, it signed Tom Watson, one of the sport's legendary players, as its official golf sponsorships spokesman.

All told, said Mava K. Heffler, MasterCard senior vice president, global promotions and sponsorships, MasterCard expects to invest $40 million in golf sponsorships over the next few years.

"This is a significant expansion of our presence and visibility and sponsorship of golf," Ms. Heffler said. "When we started embarking on a golf strategy, we envisioned it being nearly as significant as World Cup soccer."

By far MasterCard's largest sponsorship endeavor, the World Cup has garnered most of the association's money and attention since it first became a worldwide sponsor in 1991.

Only high-caliber companies are chosen as corporate partners, said John Morris, a spokesman for the PGA Tour, which is based in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. Sponsors include IBM Corp., AT&T, Coca-Cola, Buick, and, Nike.

A number of the companies elect for corporate and title sponsorships as MasterCard has done. For example, one longtime tour fixture is now the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro Am. …

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