Top-tier additions drive Ryder Cup sponsorship revenue uplift

(Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)
(Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)

Sponsorship revenue for the Ryder Cup has risen by 153 per cent during the current cycle after the additions made to the premium Worldwide Partner tier, SportBusiness understands.

The cycle running from 2019 to 2023 encompasses the edition held in Wisconsin – delayed by 12 months due to Covid-19 – and concludes with next month’s Ryder Cup at the Marco Simone Golf & Country Club on the outskirts of Rome.

The revenue delivered for a cycle extended to five years due to the postponement of the 2020 edition comfortably outstrips that generated across the 2015-18 period which climaxed at Le Golf National near Paris.

US banking group Citi recently became the seventh and final Worldwide Partner of this year’s edition. The agreement also includes the 2025 event at Bethpage Black in New York as Ryder Cup Europe and the PGA of America increasingly look to work together to offer blue-chip brands an association with more than one edition.

“These are [now] global arrangements”, Guy Kinnings, Ryder Cup director, told SportBusiness: “This is where we’ve changed our approach on the Ryder Cup as we used to just have sponsors for the US or European events.

“These are global relationships and therefore they contract with ourselves and the PGA of America and they work at both events.”

On the commercial approach when going to market, he said: “We’ve worked well on it, focused on [different] areas and promoted it in a slightly different way to attract different audiences.”

Aberdeen Standard Investments, BMW, Emirates and Rolex were the only four Worldwide Partners at Le Golf National in 2018. BMW and Rolex will reprise their sponsorships in Rome, joined by Citi, Aon, Capgemini, Hilton and DP World, which was added to the list of Worldwide Partners last month.

Sponsorship revenue generated by a Ryder Cup held in Europe flows into the accounts of Ryder Cup Europe LLP and its subsidiaries. The European Tour Group is the managing partner of Ryder Cup Europe through its 60-per-cent ownership stake.

Following an investment made in 2021 in sponsorship sales, the Tour’s own sponsorship revenue has risen by 45 per cent between 2019 and 2022, primarily on the back of a 10-year title sponsorship with DP World worth over $40m (€36.7m).

While the DP World Tour and the 2023 Ryder Cup share four common top-tier sponsors (BMW, Hilton, Rolex and DP World), each sponsor contracts separately for the biennial teams competition and the Tour. There remains a strong value-in-kind component to most of the deals signed by Ryder Cup Europe or the Tour, including DP World’s logistics support and Hilton’s provision of hotel rooms.

Kinnings pointed to the total of close to 40 sponsors at varying levels for this year’s edition as proof that the Ryder Cup’s commercial proposition remains “strong and distinct” despite political ructions to have affected golf in the last 18 months.

These have created some doubts over the quality of the field with LIV Golf members who resigned from the DP World Tour ineligible to compete for Team Europe. US players on the Saudi-backed Tour remain eligible, however.

This content is available to SportBusiness Sponsorship subscribers only

Talk to our team of experts about a subscription today

Already have an account? Sign in here