With this year’s first golf major – The Masters – teeing off this week, I thought now would be a better time than any to write about something that has always fascinated me: advertising in golf.
More specifically, on-player advertising. Behind NASCAR, golf is without question the most prolific sport when it comes to moving billboard syndrome. From hats to sleeves, collars to pockets; today’s pro golfers are essentially walking, human ad space, meaning brands have to pay big bucks for the privilege of buying.
And, even though advertising is undoubtedly a great way for brands to reach a truly worldwide audience, just how much they have to pay to do so may well surprise you.
Hat ($250,000 to $2million)
If you’ve ever watched televised golf, you’ll know how much airtime the front of players’ hats enjoy. A cap is one of the biggest, most visible bits of ad space on the modern-day golf pro, which explains why Mizuno paid Luke Donald a whopping $1 million a year, back when the Englishman was in his prime. Not bad for keeping the sun off your head, eh?
Back of the Collar (Up to $650,000)
Perhaps one of the less obvious bits of real estate, golfers can still command a hefty payday for is the back of their collar. Jim Fyruk, for example, signed a three-year, $2 million contract to wear the Johnnie Walker menswear logo on his.
Chest Pocket ($25,000 to $250,000)
They say you can’t put a price on love, but you can buy a piece of a golfer’s heart (or at least the clothing that covers it) if the price is right. Highly visible but notoriously tough to secure, chest pockets are usually the reserve of the world’s biggest corporate brands, such as Barclays in Phil Mickelson’s case.
Sleeve ($10,000 to $1million)
The sleeve is an interesting one. Even though the right sleeve typically gets less TV time than the left, many brands argue that the right is the money shot, simply because it’s what shows up on-screen at the end of a player’s follow through. As a lefty and one of the world’s biggest stars, Phil Mickelson, however, the opposite is true.
So, there you have it – a pretty cool insight into how professional golfers earn more for simply putting their clothes on, than the average Joe will in a lifetime! Mark Twain famously described golf as “a good walk spoiled.”
But, at least where brands are concerned, nothing could be further from the truth.