automotive

Mercedes Joins List Of Brands Leveraging PGA Tour

Mercedes

Mercedes-Benz is tying in with the PGA this year to teach golf. The Mercedes-Benz Performance Center is a mobile golf tour co-branded with the PGA of America that will be rolling around the country to golf events and Mercedes-Benz dealerships in the vicinity. The program launches in Augusta, Ga., under the oversight of two-time Masters winner Champion Bernhard Langer.

The company, which is rolling out five new vehicles this year, will use Mercedes Sprinter vans to tote golf swing simulators and other training systems that use digital video, motion measurement and biofeedback technology to measure a person's swing. The first stop is a Mercedes-Benz dealership in August. Over the next several months, the automaker will take the tour to at least nine PGA events, including the Wells Fargo Championship, Senior PGA Championship, AT&T National, PGA Championship, Charles Schwab Cup Championship, and Chevron World Challenge, along with several Mercedes-Benz Dealer Golf Sectionals and PGA Play Golf America days.

The PGA is getting involved in staffing the Mercedes-Benz Golf Performance Center. The association says it is handling recruiting, training, and scheduling of local PGA pros. This year's PGA tour comprises some 50 golf events, with Hyundai taking title sponsorship, and Cadillac, BMW and Honda sponsoring individual events. Nine of the tournaments will have automaker sponsors. Other sponsors include Farmers Insurance, Shell, John Deere, and Bridgestone, Sony, AT&T, Crowne Plaza, Wyndham and FedEx.

All in all, the PGA has 40 corporate sponsors, Category-exclusive deals include Michelob the Official Beer of the PGA Tour, Champions Tour and Nationwide Tour. Beringer Vineyards is the first wine sponsor of the PGA Tour, Champions Tour, and Nationwide Tour. The company has products at tournaments and in-store consumer retail promotions. Tire company Bridgestone is doing a marketing program including instructional "Improve Your Drive" videos on the PGA Tour Web site. The videos feature Bridgestone PGA Tour players Matt Kuchar, Will MacKenzie, Brandt Snedeker and Kevin Stadler.

On site at tournaments Bridgestone also has an "Improve Your Drive" expo where consumers can try out different brands of golf balls. The company has lead sponsorship of the Bridgestone Invitational, one of four prestigious World Golf Championships. Coca-Cola is presenting sponsor of the Championship at East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta.

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