Wednesday
Dec082010

PGA Tour Grounds Delta, Flies New Marketing Deal With United Airlines

December 8, 2010: The PGA Tour has signed a deal with United Continental Holdings under which United Airlines will replace Delta as its official carrier beginning in 2011.

Financial terms of the five-year deal, which runs through the 2015 season, were not revealed. United Continental Holdings is the holding company for Continental and United airlines, and the company is in the process of integrating the two carriers to create a single airline. The designation as "official airline" of the PGA Tour, Champions Tour and Nationwide Tour "will pass to United as the integration process advances," according to UCH.

Delta Airlines has been the official airline of the PGA Tour for about 25 years.

Multi-media marketing support will include TV, print and other traditional venues, plus a special focus on Internet and such social media sites as Facebook and Twitter. In addition, the new partnership will provide both airlines' frequent flier members the opportunity to obtain special PGA Tour-related benefits, including unique PGA Tour player experiences; perks at PGA Tour, Champions Tour and Nationwide Tour tournaments; and private and semi-private hospitality areas at select tournaments.

"We are extremely pleased to announce this new long-term agreement with United Continental Holdings and are very excited about the consumer and player programs that will be initiated through our partnership," Tom Wade, CMO for the PGA Tour, said in a statement. "The combined hub system and route network align extremely well with our Tour schedules, which is very beneficial to our members, as well as to the frequent fliers who might take advantage of the special PGA Tour promotional programs."

Under terms of the new deal, beginning in 2011, United will be the official airline for PGA Tour golfers who love to "drive."United, Continental and its siblings fly approximately 5,800 flights a day to 371 airports on six continents from hubs in Chicago, Cleveland, Denver, Guam, Houston, Los Angeles, New York/Newark Liberty, San Francisco, Tokyo and Washington, D.C.

UCH said that its airlines' hub markets with a corresponding PGA Tour tournament include Houston (Shell Houston Open), Chicago (BMW Championship), Cleveland (World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational), Newark (The Barclays), Los Angeles (Northern Trust Open), San Francisco (Charles Schwab Cup Championship) and Washington, D.C. (AT&T National and Constellation Energy Senior Players Championship).

"We are thrilled to partner our brand with an organization that receives great global attention." — Jim Compton, evp, United

According to Jim Compton, United's evp and chief revenue officer, "We are thrilled to partner our brand with an organization that receives great global attention. This partnership will offer exceptional benefits for our customers and the PGA Tour's membership base of players from around the world."

Other PGA Tour corporate partners include Anheuser-Busch, Bridgestone, Charles Schwab, Coca-Cola, Dow Chemical, FedEx, MasterCard and Nationwide Insurance. (Full list here.)

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