Friday, January 07, 2005

Mercedes Championship: Golf's Winners Only Award

As this Winner's Podium site is dedicated to award winners and the sponsors who fund the competitions and their trophies, we couldn't let golf's current Mercedes Championship pass by without a comment.

The Mercedes Championship is the first competition of the year in the PGA Tour. But more significantly, it is only open to the winners of PGA Tour competitions during the previous year. This makes it a winners-only tournament, and the prestige and honour that such a select competition entails are also shared with the sponsors. In this case, that sponsor is Mercedes-Benz USA (MBUSA).

Mercedes-Benz USA has sponsored the competition since 1994 and their current deal will run until 2006. For this, the luxury motor company provides prize money of $1.1m for the winner of the Hawaii-based tournament, along with a Mercedes-Benz SL500 car. Total funding of the event, the centrepiece of Mercedes' golf sponsorship, is $5.5m.

In exchange for this sponsorship, the four-day Mercedes Championship is broadcast live in prime-time by ESPN. The prime-time slot is ensured by the five hour time difference between Hawaii and the east coast of the USA. By associating themselves with a winners-only tournament, Mercedes-Benz USA have elevated their brand above the standard golf tournament sponsors, and for this, along with their foresight regarding prime-time broadcasting schedules ... we salute them!