Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Sponsoring the Players Buys UBS Name Recognition; the Financial Company's Big Crowd Draw Is a Replica of the Course's Famed 17th Hole

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Sponsoring the Players Buys UBS Name Recognition; the Financial Company's Big Crowd Draw Is a Replica of the Course's Famed 17th Hole

Article excerpt

Byline: CHRISTINA ABEL

A replica of one of the most difficult holes in golf drew about 400 people in its first hour Thursday at the opening day of The Players Championship in Ponte Vedra Beach and about 2,200 more by the day's end. For UBS, the financial services company that sponsored the fan-oriented challenge, it's paying off in fun, familiarity and brand recognition.

Two years ago, Jacksonville UBS Financial Services officials said the Switzerland-based company, had just a fraction of the recognition they have today thanks, in part, to the The Players, and UBS' second year of sponsorship.

In addition to the events and services they sponsored last year, UBS spent six weeks before this year's tournament designing and building a replica of the 17th hole of the Sawgrass Stadium Course. UBS and Pricewaterhouse Coopers are the main sponsors of the tournament.

The effort wasn't just for fans. It's paying dividends for the investment bank, too.

"The feedback has been terrific," said Executive Director Ron Maurno, who manages the Jacksonville complex. "It's given [people] the opportunity to talk about UBS and it's gotten our name out around the area."

UBS has 22 branch locations throughout Florida and six of those are in the northeastern part of the state.

Global Head of Sponsorship and Events for UBS, Christof Marti, said the company's decision to sponsor the TPC as its one major, annual event, was a business decision.

"For us it was clear that within the U.S. market, golf is a very good theme for us to reach out to our target group," Marti said. "We wanted a property that is really special, that has really top-end positioning.We very quickly identified The Players Championship as fulfilling all of our requests."

With the PGA's record of unmatched support of charitable causes and the The Players' reputation for excellence, Marti said it is a good organization to be associated with. …

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