If golf’s return to the Olympics after more than a century wasn’t enough, golf properties have even more to cheer about: a solid increase in sponsorship spending.
Worldwide spending on golf is expected to total $1.82 billion in 2016, up 5.1% from 2015, according to IEG research, part of WPP’s ESP Properties. The firm notes that its spending projections include sponsorship of professional and amateur sanctioning bodies and tournaments, charity fundraisers, endorsement deals and corporate hospitality.
The projected increase in golf spending for this year exceeds IEG’s forecast of a 4.6% increase in global sports spending and 4.7% increase in overall sponsorship spending.
“While golf continues to face challenges — namely declining popularity among young Millennials — the sport remains popular among corporate marketers,” said William Chipps, IEG Sponsorship Report senior editor.
Alcoholic beverages is the most active golf sponsorship category. Beer, wine and spirits brands are five times more likely to sponsor the sport than the average of all sponsors, per IEG’s research.
Banks and autos are the second- and third-most-active categories, respectively, with professional services, insurance and business technology tied for third.
Anheuser-Busch InBev is the most active sponsor of golf. Some 35% percent of properties with a sponsor in the malt beverage category report a partnership with the beverage giant. MasterCard, Coca-Cola, Bacardi and Montres Rolex round out the top five most active sponsors.