Backing 'Big Break II’

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The Golf Channel has put together a strong foursome to help promote the second season of its original reality series, Big Break II.

Premiering on Sept. 28 at 9 p.m. and running Tuesday nights through Dec. 14, 10 scratch amateur golfers will get the chance to win four exemptions in 2005 to play on the Nationwide Tour, the stepping stone to the Professional Golfers Association Tour.

Comcast Corp.-owned Golf Channel will leverage their on-air, 12-week quest with a tune-in campaign; a consumer promotion highlighted by a sweepstakes; an affiliate-incentive program and a local ad-sales initiative.

Some 5,000 applicants with low handicaps were initially interviewed (and had their swings videotaped) at various audition locales.

TEN IN VEGAS

The 10 who emerged took part in various competitions and challenges at four courses in Las Vegas, and had their off-course lives filmed at the Treasure Island Hotel and Casino.

Along with the opportunity to play on the Nationwide Tour, the top golfer wins a 2005 Ford Five Hundred sedan and a financial-services package from Nationwide Insurance, including $10,000 in cash.

Managing director of affiliate marketing and local ad sales Barbara Hayes called this the first time Golf has given Big Break “the full marketing and affiliate sales treatment.”

“We have more skilled players and raised the stakes this time around,” she added. Big Break offered four exemptions on the Canadian Tour.

Viewers can enter “Your Big Break Sweepstakes” by watching the series, then logging onto the Golf Web site (www.golfchannel.com) to vote for the player they believe will be eliminated next.

Top Flite golf equipment will be awarded each week and entrants will qualify for the top prize: a trip to the Ford Doral Championship, a spot in the pro-am and lessons with Big Break co-host Rick Smith, who provides instruction on a number of Golf Channel shows.

Top Flite, Ford and Treasure Island Hotel and Casino are the official sponsors in their categories, but Hayes is confident the show, when packaged with other Golf fare, can drive solid local ad sales across financial services, airlines, travel, real estate, jewelry and furniture-store lines.

“Most local ad-sales programs last only a few weeks. With Big Break II, there is a longer sales period, one that extends into the media-heavy fourth quarter, to boost local sales against Golf Channel’s upscale viewers,” she said.

Local cable ad-sales executives can pursue deals with Ford dealerships; interconnects serving the Tampa and Nashville DMAs have already done so.

AFFILIATE PACKS

For affiliate incentives, Golf is offering gift packs comprising cash, merchandise and trips to one cable company in each of the top 20 markets. Hayes said the packages could reward local sales people or to fete top clients.

At press time, Golf had signed up affiliates in Raleigh and Charlotte, N.C.; Cleveland; Detroit; Washington, D.C., Tampa and Nashville.

Over the course of the promotion, participating cable companies must run a minimum of 250 spots, which are taggable, including 100 trumpeting the sweepstakes.

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