PGA FINANCIALS: The PGA of America has released its annual report, and although revenues in general are down about four percent, tournament and other special operations are humming right along.
PGA revenue for the year ended June 30, 2002, was $103.3 million, down from $107.5 million for the prior year. But tournaments in the latest year, including the Ryder Cup and the PGA Championship, drew $61.3 million versus $59.9 million the year before. Marketing-related income rose to $4.2 million last year from $3.7 million the year before.
Disappointments came in the categories of investment income ' no surprise in this economy ' which was $887,000 in the year ended June 30, 2001. But in the latest year, the PGA weathered investment losses of more than $2.5 million. Golf course licensing, consulting and ownership income was $15.6 million in the latest year, down from just more than $16 million in the year ended June 30, 2001.
Spending on member benefits increased year-to-year, from $6 million in the year ended June 30, 2001 to $7.6 million in the latest year. Same for public awareness campaigns, for which spending jumped from $243,000 to $578,000. But growth of the game program spending dropped from $4 million to $3.8 million.
CUSTOMIZED GOLF TV: On your computer, that is. Detailed audio and video coverage of the PGA Tour will be available through TOURCast Plus, an online subscription service developed by the tour, interactive content, technology and marketing company Sportvision Inc. and Internet media delivery specialists RealNetworks Inc. Also involved is longtime tour ally IBM, which will handle the Web hosting duties.
Whew ' now that the credits are done, what will this thing do? No less than detailed, shot-by-shot coverage of every player in the field, the principals promise. The Tours Shotlink program, which gathers data from the course as play progresses, will have a significant role.
Supporting software will allow fans to choose which players to follow, and even to compare chosen players on various holes. Theres also a replay application, performance analysis capabilities, and informational programming.
The system is in place for this weeks Nissan Open. A three-hole free trial is available at PGATour.com. Subscribers will pay $9.95 per month for the stand-alone service, or $14.95 for the service bundled with other-sport applications.
PRICE ON THE BALL: Staunch Precept endorser Nick Price has jumped on board with the companys latest golf ball offering for the Nissan Open. Price will play the U-Tri Extra Spin ball, which Precept pitches as a three-piece, seamless, urethane-covered orb. The lack of a seam protects trajectory, Precept says, and the thermoplastic urethane helps create desirable greenside spin. (Other companies, Callaway Golf included, have embraced hot-process urethane technology; Callaways CTU balls boast cast thermoset urethane.)
The U-Tri is designed to compete with Titleists Pro V1 and other premium entries, Precept says, but at a lower price: Precept says its ball will retail for between $25 and $30 per dozen.
HES BADD, SO BADD, YOU KNOW IT Joining Lee Janzen and Jose Maria Olazabal on MacGregor Golfs is Australian phenom Aaron Baddeley. The deal provides for Baddeley to play MacGregor V-Foil forged clubs and wear a company hat starting at Nissan.
Also on the MacGregor staff are veterans Tommy Armour III, Carl Paulson and Garrett Willis.
ABOUT TIME: When Mexican rookie sensation Lorena Ochoa teed it up for the first time this year in the Australian Ladies Masters, she was the first woman pro to have $1 million in endorsement contracts sewn up before the peg went in the ground. Thats the industry scuttlebutt, anyway; the parties arent opening the books.
Ochoas management team, led by veteran agent Rocky Hambric, secured deals for Ochoa with airline Aeromexico, car maker Audi, Office Depot and sports collectible power Upper Deck.
Ochoa will also play Nike balls and wear that companys shoes; Nike will have second billing on her hat (Audi is out front on the headgear).
Hambric is experienced at getting big deals for hot college prospects. He engineered the multimillion dollar endorsement contract that Charles Howell III signed with Callaway before his debut.
CLOSING THOUGHT: If you give a two-year-old a cut-down putter, should you also invest in drywall repair supplies?