Why banks love spending millions on golf sponsorships?
I was at the gym the other day and right after I dropped my dumbbells, I looked up at the TV set to mute on the local news, and right there, I saw a lanky, svelte lady in flamingo pink swiping a golf ball almost as if she were in a video game. Golf, a sport I could never understand. A rich man game for a different class of people. Then I started noticing the banners floating around her in the back, the title captions at the bottom of the screen and the numerous logos pasted all around the visible space: it was the HSBC Women’s World Championship.
Notice they did not even have to say Golf in the title, it was assumed.
Then it hit me. Why is HSBC spending millions to sponsor…golf?
Wait. Why are banks all over the world, so fascinated with sponsoring golf?
I started digging.
What I discovered made me smile, but it also raises some real questions.
Mastercard currently spends over $20m/year on golf sponsorship.
HSBC had a $40m deal in 2016 running for five years as title sponsor of the World Golf Championships, with renewals estimated to be worth as much as $15m a year.
Since 2015, Citi invests $2m a year as sponsor/partner of golf’s Presidents Cup.
RBC invests $1.5m a year to support the Canadian PGA tour.
Société Générale, one of the biggest European banking golf sponsors, gives nearly $1.5m/year to the French Golf Federation.
ING invests $400k/year as main sponsor of the Dutch Golf Federation.
Amex has backed the USGA since 2016 in a deal worth an estimated $2.5m/year.
Sumitomo Mitsui via its $1m/year deal to sponsor the Singapore Open
South Africa, Investec invests $500k/year to sponsor the Sunshine Tour.
Most of the top golf players in the world are all sponsored by banks.
Its truly fascinating why banks are spending millions on the world of golf.
Why, for all reasons and sanity, are banks so obsessed with sponsoring golf and apparently, so generous with it?
Turns out, there are no easy answers and my good friend Google wasn’t too helpful either.
One reason was that of eyeballs. Golf is watched by millions all over the world, and some of the spectators could be wealthy individuals that are potential customers of banks.
Another could be that banks are soft-pushed by regulators, lawmakers and government to “give back”, or that it could be a tax break.
Perhaps because the kind of people who actually plays and enjoy golf are the wealthier ones, who are of direct interest to the banks.
Or it could be that it helps soften their image by being seen as a supporter of sportsmanship, good values and class.
Either way, I find it fascinating that banks are sponsoring so much for golf and I really wonder if they actually get good returns on the investments at all.
Maybe someone who has insights to this world can shed some light?
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