By Barry Janoff
March 21, 2012: MasterCard has signed a deal with the PGA Tour and Arnold Palmer to continue and also expand its role as lead sponsor of the Arnold Palmer Invitational Presented by MasterCard.
Financial terms of the four-year deal, which runs through the 2016 tournament, were not revealed. Proceeds from the tournament will continue to benefit Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children and Winnie Palmer Hospital for Women & Babies.
MasterCard has been presenting sponsor of the Arnold Palmer Invitational since 2004 and a sponsor of the PGA Tour and Champions Tour since 1995.
Other event marketing partners include Coca-Cola, Hertz, Publix, Loew's Hotel and Buffalo Wild Wings.
Tiger Woods is expected to participate in this key event prior to the 2012 Masters after withdrawing in the final round of the WGC-Cadillac Championship on March 11 due to what he called soreness in his left Achilles tendon. Woods has won the Arnold Palmer Invitational six times since 2000.
MasterCard is supporting with print in the official tournament program, social media interaction including Twitter and a dedicated Facebook page, on-site signage and event activation including a Priceless Moments tent that houses photos and memorabilia featuring Palmer. Among the perks for MasterCard holders are access to the MasterCard Club, exclusive viewing platforms on the 6th hole and 18th fairway and discounts on concessions and Tournament merchandise.
As added Incentive for the 2012 Arnold Palmer Invitational Presented by MasterCard, being held this week at Arnold Palmer's Bay Hill Club in Orlando, MasterCard has issued a challenge to its pro golf endorsers entered in the event. Should any of them win the tournament, MasterCard said it would make an additional $200,000 donation to Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children and Winnie Palmer Hospital for Women & Babies in their name.
“In the first nine years of our partnership, MasterCard has helped raise more than $1.8 million that have directly impacted Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children."
"While golf is a true passion for many of our cardholders, we’ve experienced first-hand the impact this tournament has on families across the southeast," Chris McWilton, president, U.S. Markets for MasterCard, said in a statement. "Every day, we look for ways to create stronger connections with consumers, while providing them with priceless experiences and memories. As we continue our sponsorship, we’ll have an ability to continue to deliver on this promise and create greater affection for the tournament and for our products.”
According to Palmer, “Throughout the first nine years of our partnership, MasterCard has helped raise more than $1.8 million that have directly impacted Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children. I am looking forward to continuing our partnership over the next four years to deliver a world-class event for our players and fans, while continuing to support the hospitals.”
The first two rounds, March 22-23, will air on the Golf Channel; the final two rounds, March 24-25, on NBC. The 2011 defending champion is Martin Laird.