While there’s little info, Sportsbusinessjournal.com is reporting a rumor that has been circulating — that Royal Bank is going to forgo picking up a second PGA Tour event and will instead hook on as a sponsor of the PGA of America, a deal which would likely include the PGA Championship, and the Ryder Cup.
Here’s what SBJ has to say:
The PGA of America is expected to introduce Royal Bank of Canada this week as its new sponsor in the banking category, multiple sources said, making it the first financial institution to make a new, multimillion-dollar commitment to professional golf
What does this mean? If true — and I have sources who suggest it is — it would suggest that RBC is taking a much bigger position in golf — a G4G spy told me that a deal of this nature with the PGA of America is worth not millions, but tens of millions over the terms of the deal (I’m thinking between $20M and $30M over three to five years). It would also suggest that the RBC Canadian Open — which RBC gets for a lower price given its date following the British Open — will stay at its current date, at least until the existing television deal closes in 2012.
In a lot of ways this would accomplish for RBC what the PGA Tour couldn’t do — provide RBC with huge exposure, events that have the best players and the largest audiences, and won’t make the bank beg for players each year. Up until now PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem (who incidently wasn’t the guy in the photo in the Globe and Mail yesterday) has done little to support RBC’s efforts with the Canadian Open — just look at what happened to the Buick event, which went to West Virginia, even though there was no sponsor. Apparently the date wasn’t offered to the Canadian Open, and the way the news came out — leaking during the tournament at Glen Abbey last year — was a slap in the face to RBC’s efforts. With that in mind, a PGA of America deal demonstrates the bank is prepared to be a big player in golf, while not being beholden to the PGA Tour.
If you are Tim Finchem, this deal has to sting. As opposed to having RBC on another PGA Tour event and making them one of the tour’s go-to sponsors, you’ve driven them in another direction. Maybe this was just happenstance and this wasn’t the thinking on RBC’s part — but it looks like the bank showing that it will not have the PGA Tour call the shots when it comes to golf.