The PGA TOUR has a new business partner. The announcement of Web.com coming on board and immediately taking over the naming rights of the formerly known Nationwide Tour may have a few (in these economic times) wondering what just happened. More than a year ago, Nationwide approached the PGA TOUR about its preference to reallocate its spending to the Memorial Tournament after Morgan Stanley decided it was time to move on. The Internet Company decided to go with a broad approach of building its brand even though individual tournaments were available as likely a fraction of the cost.
“We looked at the option of sponsoring a PGA TOUR event in one local market over one week versus the opportunity to sponsor 27 tournaments across an entire year, across 27 markets,” explained David Brown, chairman, president and CEO of Web.com. “And we get the opportunity to be at every PGA TOUR event and Champions Tour event, and our mission profile, which is U.S. wide and international, it is far better for us to be doing the Web.com TOUR umbrella sponsorship.
“The PGA TOUR gives us more exposure, both in the United States and in the future increasingly important internationally than we could get from any other venue, and we've looked at all of them,” Brown continued. “We will be in every market educating small businesses, bringing them to the tournaments, helping them understand not just how to have a website but how to make sure that that website gets found when people search or when they search how to make sure when they come to the site they actually see what they're looking for so they convert into a business. We also want to participate in the charitable aspects. It is a dying art, and it's one that we want to play in the resurrection of. So this charitable component is very important to us. People think of us as a technology company, but we're really just a service company. We help small businesses with solutions.”
For Brown the business opportunities extend to the TOUR itself in more ways than one. “Most of the tournaments and most of the professionals are, in fact, small businesses as well as the charities that stand behind them, and those are our clients,” he said adding the business has already 3 million customers that it already working with.
He declined to state the financial investment in the 10-year deal, but said the costs will be ongoing. “We'll invest a significant amount both in the umbrella sponsorship and in activities on top of that to make sure that it's worth our while to have done it,” he said. “We're going to be sending staff into every local market, running educational forums for small businesses and civic leaders and charities so they understand how to get the most out of the Internet. You'll see us at every tournament, both the Web.com TOUR tournaments, as well as PGA and Champions events because they're in cities that are important to us. The ability to grapple with mobile, to really use Facebook and Twitter to reach a population that is adopting, that's something that we do every day with our 3 million customers. We're excited to bring that to the TOUR and to all of its constituents.”