Topgolf taking sponsorships national with Oak View Group


Those looking closely at the impact of LIV Golf on that sport — and on the industry as a whole — will be giving extra scrutiny to the last weekend of this month, when the Saudi-backed tour tees off in Bedminster, NJ It’s the Closer the tour will play to America’s media and financial capitals — and it’s being played at the Trump National Golf Club. That seems a volatile mix during summer’s dog days.

“We’re developing a new citizenry; one that will be very selective about cereals and automobiles but won’t be able to think.” — Rod Serling

Oak View Group is taking Topgolf sponsorships to market across its 70 domestic locations. The combination driving range/bar/restaurant/party center was purchased by Callaway in 2020 for around $2 billion in stock. Previously, Topgolf sponsorships were mostly local or regional.

After meeting with Hurricanes owner Tom Dundon, an early Topgolf investor, OVG officials saw potential that sounded like a cash register ring. Participants that are 61% male, 43% in the elusive 18-34 demo and 67% with household incomes exceeding $70,000.

“There’s tremendous potential,” said Topgolf CMO Geoff Cottrill. “We can double our [sponsorship] business easily.” Cottrill, who joined Topgolf last August, noted that around 10 locations are being added annually. The 70 current locations draw around 29 million people annually, which is more than 10x what the MLB-attendance-leading Dodgers draw to Chavez Ravine each season.

An average beer deal for a venue in a good market is $3.5 million to $4 million per season, so even with smaller average crowds, Topgolf’s possibilities for national sponsorships seemed alluring. “It’d take us 10 years in Climate Pledge Arena to get close to that many people,” said OVG President of Global Partnerships Dan Griffis, whose firm runs the Seattle-based arena. We should do a minimum of $5 million a year in the beer category and probably the same in spirits.”

OVG also sees opportunity in food and beverage, autos, financial services and tech, among other areas. “This is dependent on category,” said Griffis, “but I think we can find seven or eight partners that will spend $3 million to $5 million a year.” Packages will include signage, product integration and ads on the in-house TV network.

As for the Topgolf brand? “We want to center it on the ideas of play and fun,” Cottrill said. “In a lot of cases, Topgolf is the first time people hold a golf club, outside of a putt-putt. and laughter, not frustration and sadness.”

OVG also sees Topgolf sponsor opportunities in F&B, autos, financial services and tech

While its deal with Royals is one of MLB’s largest craft beer sponsorships, Kansas City-based Boulevard Brewing was blocked from using Chiefs assets by MillerCoors’ hookup with Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes — as well as AB InBev’s exclusive team sponsorship.

Accordingly, Boulevard elected to shore up protection on the offensive line, adding Chiefs center Creed Humphrey. Boulevard is using him in a “Protect Your Tailgate” digital/social and print campaigns, a sweepstakes overlay, event appearances and a Creed Humphrey menu at all Jack Stack Barbecue locations.

Wes Engram’s Integrity 9 Sports & Entertainment handled for Boulevard.

Chiefs center Creed Humphrey is now a pitchman for KC-based Boulevard Brewing

  • Why did Take-Two pick Michael Jordan for the cover of NBA 2K23? Besides marketing the obvious “23” connection, NPD Group’s Mat Piscatella tells SBJ’s Jason Wilson that during the period of March-May this year, 27.6% of NBA 2K22’s players were in the 35-44 age bracket — folks who watched Jordan as children and young adults.
  • Lexus’ local dealership sponsorship around the PGA Tour’s John Deere Classic last week is paying dividends, as “over half of the cars used by the JDC’s pro golfers have already sold,” said Todd Hopkins, GM of Smart Lexus of the Quad Cities.
  • The Cowboys “drew mostly criticism” after announcing a business relationship with Black Rifle Coffee, a company “whose gun-centric signage and product labels like ‘AK-47 Espresso Blend’ and ‘Murdered Out Coffee Roast,'” notes the Dallas Morning News .

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