I was very surprised to hear last year that Lydia Ko (world #1) left Callaway Golf for PXG. Last year’s other interesting sponsorship deal was when she signed a contract with ECCO Golf. She will wear Ecco BIOM G2 (Minjee Lee is also wearing this golf shoe model) in 2017.
So what is left from the wardrobe to replace?
Have you heard of Mckayson, the newly launched golfwear brand of the Korean MCS Sports Co., Ltd? The company has just signed a 3-year contract with Lydia Ko (2017-2019). It is giving Mckayson the right to use Lydia Ko’s name and likeness in their advertising, brand product, and logo.
Lydia Ko will actively participate in developing her new golf apparel line, the ‘Mckayson LK line’. Once she said that she prefers colorful and conservative apparels. Today, she prefers simple design. Let’s wait and see what will be this new golf apparel line like.
MC Sports signed a strategic partnership deal with the two leading textile companies in Korea: Samil Spinning Co. Ltd.(CEO Hyun Ho Noh), and Selim High Tech (CEO Chang Su Han). With the signing of the MOU, Samil Spinning Co. Ltd will focus on developing and supplying the raw garment while Selim High Tech will focus in development and investment in the final production of knit garment and direct dying process.
Last year, Mckayson became the official sponsor of the New Zealand Women’s Open which will take place September 28-October 1, 2017 at the Windross Farm Golf Course in Ardmore, Auckland.
In a certain way, this kind of sponsorship strategy is OK. However, this is what used to be effective before the rise of the so-called connected customer. Today, most of us are looking for shareable personal experiences. The younger audiences today want to discover in their way the new products and feel like they are Lydia Ko (in this case).
Brands should think about how can customers participate actively in the life of a sportswoman/man to achieve sufficient engagement. They should also find and develop a relationship with leading influencers within the golf industry (e.g. Patricia Hannigan: Golf Girl’s Diary; Stephanie Wei: Wei Under Par). We should not neglect to utilize alternative, fan-sided websites to bring closer the product and the brand to potential customers (e.g. The Player’s Tribune (athlete-owned online platform), Fansided etc.).
I think it is pretty obvious, but live streaming and social media are must haves. Currently, Lydia Ko’s Instagram account is operating ideally.
Another interesting area with great potential is the OTT (=“over-the-top”; the term used for the delivery of film and TV content via the Internet, without requiring users to subscribe to a traditional cable or a satellite pay-TV service) content development and services. I think it will be a disrupter of the traditional broadcasting model. I assume it will make the TV experience richer.