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April 11th, 2010
01:44 PM ET

Masters Sponsorships: Augusta National's Pot of Gold

Rick Horrow joins CNN's Don Lemon on Sunday at 7:00 p.m. ET to talk Masters.

From Sports Business Analyst Rick Horrow:

Have we been wrong all these years in thinking that Augusta National is stodgy, rooted in tradition and refusing to acknowledge such fixtures of modern living as annual cost of living increases, equal rights for women and minorities, and electronic scoreboards at sporting events?

Is the 77-year-old club really a well-cloaked beacon of innovation?

Consider this:

If you’re not one of the tens of thousands lucky enough or loaded enough to step foot on the grounds of Augusta National and you’re a Comcast subscriber, 3-D TV might be a viewing option for you. Among the nauseating amount of tournament and Tiger Woods coverage this week, sports media execs may have found a use for the cutting-edge broadcast technology that goes beyond the gimmick, providing an experience that’s truly the next best thing to being there.

Last week, Comcast held a demo screening in New York for its planned distribution this week of The Masters in 3-D specifically for home consumption. Industry analysts present at the screening claim that the technology translates well to golf, due to the wide open, outdoor setting of the sport, and the noticeable variations in course topography. Six of the course’s back nine holes have been shot in 3-D, including Amen Corner.

None of this would have happened, of course, without the blessing of the green jackets at Augusta National.

The Masters is also all about sponsorship tastefully done. AT&T, one of only a handful of official Masters sponsors, is using the tournament to rebrand itself as a lifestyle innovator that’s “changing how people live, work and play” through the “Rethink Possible” campaign it launched during The Masters this week.

K.J. Choi is paired with Tiger during the final round of The Masters, meaning they will have played together every day of the tournament. Because of the added coverage Choi is receiving from playing with Tiger, his sponsors (Ping, Titleist, SK Telecom, SGF Superior and Shinhan Bank) will get the equivalent of nearly $15 million of TV advertising time. Likewise, leader-after-Saturday Lee Westwood’s primary sponsors, UPS, Footjoy, Dunlop, Jaguar and Swiss watchmaker Audemars Piguet stand to reap about the same. Phil Mickelson’s main sponsors in the spotlight on Sunday include Barclay’s, Callaway and ExxonMobil – who can miss the near ubiquitous ads for his and wife Amy’s ExxonMobil Teachers Academy, promoting advanced teaching techniques in science and math?

Augusta National – the great enabler of 21st-century progress?

Rick Horrow is a Sports Business Analyst and frequent contributor to CNN. He is also co-author of Beyond the Box Score: An Insider’s Guide to the $750 Billion Business of Sports (Morgan James, March 2010)

Filed under: CNN Newsroom • Don Lemon
soundoff (6 Responses)
  1. Steve Casey

    Don't Change a thing.

    April 11, 2010 at 7:02 pm |
  2. stuart beaton


    On the Comfederate comemoration why not have a comemoration of the great Indian fighters. You know Sheridan, Custer and the lot.

    April 11, 2010 at 7:03 pm |
  3. Joe Smith

    for one to embrace how much revenue the club manages, one would only need to sit down with a pencil and paper and add up add up how many countries it sells it's TV rights, to broadcast the masters .
    750 million plus? Now you see why there's not a blade of grass out of place

    April 11, 2010 at 9:11 pm |
  4. Marcel Ferreiro

    Dear Don.
    I was wacthing "how to fix America's schools" and I thought about some of the prpblems. One problem is that students get to many test & quizzes, for instance I get a quiz once or twice a week. I also belive that parents may not help their kids enough with homework. My dad is all the help I need with my homework, but not everykid has parents like mine.finally, kids have too many breaks, such as snow days. In my county, when we miss a day of school, we make it up. That is what other counties should do.

    April 17, 2010 at 6:23 pm |
  5. marianne kravitz

    Kids in Europe,Asia,etc. have been taught from birth to RESPECT education and educators. I have taught for 28 years and have witnessed the growing lack of respect for education and educators in the state where I work. When the governor of the state is encouraging disrespect for public ed, it naturally follows from the general population, including the kids themselves. We (teachers) are fighting a battle every day but no matter what happens, if something goes wrong it is always the teachers who are blamed.
    With the ridiculous amount of testing, testing, testing in the public schools we are not only frustrating the hell out of these poor kids, we are teaching them to HATE school, and to disrepect it.
    Shame on anyone who has failed to remember that these are REAL HUMAN BEINGS IN LITTLE CHILDREN'S BODIES who are not machines that can constantly keep giving, giving, giving without consideration of who they are and where they are developmentally in their lives. They need to play, do "FUN STUFF" , and be free of the fear of getting anything less than than the almighty "A" on a report card.
    I hope you noticed how frustrated I am.

    Marianne Mt. Laurel, NJ

    April 17, 2010 at 6:24 pm |
  6. Bjmaxima

    For the Education Secretary: What is wrong with having national standards? Why don't we? Wouldn't it be easier to see how we're doing if all grades had specific standards? Example: By second grade, all students are expected to add, subtract, and begin learning multiplication tables. Sure there will be some kids that will require help, but at least it will be known when they've reached grade level in specific subjects, and it would not be difficult to transfer to another city and be able to keep up or not feel so far ahead.

    April 17, 2010 at 6:35 pm |