Pro Bag Ads - Advertising in Golf

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Introduction

Advertising in golf is not a new concept. Golf has been around for hundreds of years and advertisers have taken advantage of its market. Advertising was once limited to sponsoring tournaments, on players' clothing or advertising during set times within broadcasts. They were forced to fill out a golfer’s shirt or hat with as many ads as he would allow them to. Some parts of advertising were strictly limited to golf companies because they would provide the golfer with golf balls, clubs and other golf-related equipment. Pro Bag Ads has changed this.

They gave John Daly a golf bag that hardly anyone could imagine possible. It has a built in flat-screen television monitor which rotates ads across it while he plays. It works a lot like a much smaller and portable digital billboard. Joe Kirkpatrick, founder of Pro Bag Ads, went into specifics about the bags and had this to say about them:
"Each ad is displayed on an HD Sun-Readable screen for 10 seconds, rotating through a catalog of 20 paid ad spots. For a 7-hour day, each ad will be shown no less than 130 times. During a tournament week, the player’s golf bag will be on display at the golf course for at least 4 days, including practice and tournament play, and an additional 2 days once the player makes the cut. That results in at least 520 impressions for a 4-day week, and up to 910 impressions for a 6-day week!"

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*Kyeong Bae was actually the first to use Pro Bag Ads in a tournament. John Daly simply caught more attention because he is a more high profile golfer.


Price

Costs to display an ad are different depending on which golfer you choose to advertise with. To place an ad on and Kyeong Bae's (or another sponsored LPGA player's) bag, the fee is $200 per week. Advertisers can also buy yearly spots, which show the ad on a 20 tournament schedule, for $4,000. If payment is made full in advance, that cost drops to $3,000. The prices are the same for Nationwide Tour player Aaron Watkins. The prices increase for PGA Tour players. The cost per ad is $400 per week and $8,000 per year and decreases to $5,000 a year if payment is made full in advance. The reason the costs are different is because of the attendance and television viewership numbers. The PGA Tour averaged 148,809 spectators per event in 1999 while the LPGA averaged 56,411. It is also estimated that television viewership for major events on the PGA Tour reach 8.5 million. The LPGA tour does not come close to that number.

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Target

The target audience for this media is no longer your typical middle aged, white male. Golf is growing in popularity among women, juniors and younger adults (ages 18-29). In 1997, golfers who were classified as younger adults increased by 10 percent, as did the total number of female golfers. The largest percentage increase of any age group was among juniors, though. That number was up 34 percent in 1997. As the numbers of golfers in these demographics increase, so do the number of purchases. It is estimated that women account for 20 percent of total golf expenditures (Maguire). The largest percentage of golfers is still white middle aged males, but with women accounting for such a large amount of purchases it would be ridiculous to exclude them. For these reasons, the target audience should be broadened a little bit. The target audience should be males and females ages 18-54 who at least graduated high school and have a household income between $75,000 and $149,999. They are also primarily white (MRI Databases).


Drawbacks and Risks

This media obviously has limitations, however. For tournaments without national exposure, the audience in attendance would still be reached, but the television feed is limited and would reach far less viewers. Also, even when viewed nationally, it is not guaranteed that the ads on the bag will get television exposure. Sometimes, the provider switches through golfers quickly so that the television audience gets to see every shot of every high profile golfer and the best shots of the lower profile ones.


References

BERA: Issue 3/4 The Sports Industry: Golf (Business Reference Services, Library of Congress). (n.d.). Library of Congress Home. Retrieved April 12, 2011, from http://www.loc.govrr/business/BERA/issue3/golf.html

Joe Kirkpatrick (personal communication, April 11, 2011)

Maguire, T. (1999). Gettin' in the Swing of Things. American Demographics, 21(1), 10. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.

MRI Reporter. (n.d.). MRI+. Retrieved April 10, 2011, from http://ureporter.mriplusonline.com

Sirak, R. (2005). This Player for Hire. BusinessWeek, (3959), 132-136. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.

Stogel, C. (2009). Golf Industry in the Rough. Brandweek, 50(8), 012. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.