Callaway Golf thinks the overlap between football and golf is bigger than an NFL lineman, so this year, it has signed on as the presenting sponsor of the 30-minute Super Bowl Today pre-game show. The deal marks the first-ever Super Bowl pregame sponsorship struck by a stand-alone golf company, and Callaway's first involvement with the Big Game.
While the Super Bowl -- watched by 80% of U.S. golfers -- is always a good fit with the golf industry because of seasonality, this Super Bowl was an ideal time for Callaway to jump in, Brian Groves, VP/brand management, tells Marketing Daily. "We want to get the season off to the fastest start possible this year," he says.
In part, he says, the decision was due to an agreement the Carlsbad, Calif.-based company struck with CBS last fall, a plan that involves the Super Bowl Today pre-game sponsorship -- 30 minutes of programming that will include a 90-second spot to launch its new Diablo Edge and an appearance by Callaway Golf Staff Professional Phil Mickelson -- as well as a presence during March Madness and the PGA Tour later this spring.
But it's also good timing because golf appears to be ready to shake off its slump. Last week, Callaway said its sales for the year fell 15% to $951 million, and while there was a gain in the fourth quarter, the company called the year its most challenging in recent history. "We feel very confident that the industry will bounce back with the economy," Groves says, "and while it won't be to 2007 levels, this new Diablo Edge line, geared toward younger, more competitive golfers, will have strong appeal."
The new line, which includes drivers, fairway woods, hybrids and irons, arrives in stores Feb. 15 and got five Gold Medals in Golf Digest's February "Hot List" equipment issue.
But mostly, Groves says, the sponsorship makes sense because of the attitudinal overlap between fans of both sports. "The Super Bowl is a big sporting event, and golf has become a sport. Yes, there are people who still consider it a game for wealthy white men, but they're just not up to date on the competitive nature of the game, and how dedicated its fans are."