From the For Immediate Release files...
PGA TOUR Playoffs for the FedExCup a Success on Many Levels
PONTE VEDRA BEACH, FL. (Sept. 21, 2007) – The PGA TOUR Playoffs for the FedExCup, which culminated on Sunday with Tiger Woods being crowned the first-ever FedExCup Champion, brought an unprecedented level of late-season focus to and interest in the TOUR, as indicated by impressive increases in television and online audiences, tournament attendance and sponsor activation.
Oh yeah, sponsor activation baby. We have a new buzzword du jour. Stay tuned, if you can stomach it...
Interest in the Playoffs was driven by a run of some of the strongest fields in the history of the PGA TOUR, particularly for consecutive tournaments. At least nine of the top 10 players on the FedExCup Points List and eight of the top 10 players in the Official World Golf Ranking played in each event. The fourth and final event, THE TOUR Championship presented by Coca-Cola in Atlanta, boasted all 10 from both lists. Since the PGA TOUR began keeping field strength records in 1980, never before have four consecutive events had fields as strong.
“In every aspect, the PGA TOUR Playoffs for the FedExCup and the FedExCup season as a whole represent a successful run for us and the sport, and we’re very pleased with the impact,” said PGA TOUR Commissioner Tim Finchem. “Now that we’ve developed a strong foundation, we can focus on building on the enthusiasm that the players and fans have for this new competition.”
The judges just deducted a point for not taking advantage of an opportunity to drop an impactful or impactfullness.
The four Playoff events delivered record television viewership at a time when sports fans historically have watched the start of the NCAA football season and NFL pre-season and opening games.
CBS, NBC and GOLF CHANNEL telecasts of The Barclays, Deutsche Bank Championship, BMW Championship and THE TOUR Championship presented by Coca-Cola cumulatively reached more than 65 million people, a record for the PGA TOUR in this time period.
The average television rating for the eight network telecasts during the Playoffs was 18 percent higher than telecasts for the same events last year.
Hmmm...I wonder how much that 233 percent increase at the Tour Championship helped? Oh wait...
The final round telecasts of the BMW Championship and THE TOUR Championship presented by Coca-Cola were two of the highest on record for the PGA TOUR against NFL football. THE TOUR Championship presented by Coca-Cola’s final-round telecast received a 233-percent ratings increase over the rating of the event’s 2006 final round. Moreover, GOLF CHANNEL’s early-round coverage of THE TOUR Championship presented by Coca-Cola delivered more than 2.5 times the households than the previous year; the second round was its highest-rated broadcast ever (1.7 rating).
See, it was a good idea to show us that on tape.
Let's get to the important numbers. Satellite radio.
PGATOUR.com and XM Satellite Radio
In addition to television, millions of fans followed the Playoffs through PGATOUR.com and PGA TOUR Radio on XM (Channel 146). Unique users on PGATOUR.com were up 48 percent over the same four-week period last year, with a weekly average of 3.8 million uniques and 45 million page views.
The popular PGATOUR.com Live@ feature, which provides tee-to-green action for every player on a signature hole at each golf course, was streamed nearly 2 million times over the four weeks of the Playoffs, twice the number of streams of these events in 2006.
Interest in the Playoffs and on-line coverage at PGATOUR.com built significantly over the four weeks of competition, peaking at THE TOUR Championship presented by Coca-Cola. Traffic for the culminating event in the PGA TOUR Playoffs for the FedExCup was up significantly versus 2006, with unique users increasing 167 percent to 4.4 million and page views increasing 189 percent to 52 million.
PGA TOUR Radio on XM saw similar increases. Audience figures for in-car listeners are not yet available, but streams of the XM Radio tournament broadcast on PGATOUR.com showed triple-digit increases for each event.
In addition to tuning in via their TVs, radios and computers, golf fans in New York, Boston, Chicago and Atlanta contributed to the success of the Playoffs by attending the four events in record numbers. Highlights of Playoff market sales include:
THE TOUR Championship hospitality sales up 37 percent and ticket sales up 30 percent versus 2006;
Boy that's a relief.
BMW Championship corporate sales up 27 percent and ticket sales up 6.3 percent versus 2006;
Oh that number ought to get Ed Sherman and Len Ziehm on the phone this weekend.
Deutsche Bank Championship corporate sales up 10 percent and ticket sales up 20 percent versus 2006; and The Barclays corporate sponsorship up 30 percent, reaching a sell-out for the first time ever, and ticket sales up significantly versus 2006.
Ditto that weekend research project for Sam Weinman.
Oh now it's time to activate.
The PGA TOUR Playoffs for the FedExCup received unprecedented activation by title sponsors and Official Marketing Partners of the PGA TOUR. Fourteen PGA TOUR Official Marketing Partners activated around the Playoffs, with sweepstakes, giveaways, Playoff-specific advertising and other Playoffs-related promotions. Additionally, the Official Marketing Partners supplemented their activation by hosting substantial Hospitality activities at each of the Playoff events for key clients, senior management staff and employees.
FedEx activated in a myriad of ways, including: Playoff-specific tags to television advertising, print advertising, retail promotions at 1,200 FedEx Kinko’s stores, a targeted on-line contest, special truck wraps, covering a building in New York City with turf and a flag stick, hiring “golfers” to walk around New York and Atlanta with a caddy and a gallery of fans, sidewalk stickers in New York and Atlanta depicting a golf hole, special uniform enhancements for FedEx employees, and promotional signage at public transportation areas in Atlanta.
After all that, I still don't know what it means to activate. But it sure looks like a good business to be in.