Golf Preps Affils for Masters, More


The Golf Channel — looking to ride the green coattails of Tiger Woods — is ready to tee off with a number of affiliate promotions related to The Masters and other upcoming tournaments, from spring through fall.

In its "2002 Marketing Planner" — mailed to operators last month — Golf encourages its affiliates to urge viewers to "experience Masters Week," from April 8 through April 14.

Components of the campaign — tied to the year's first major golf tourney and defending champion Woods, who seeks a third green Masters jacket for his wardrobe — include taggable cross-channel spots and vignettes, an affiliate sweepstakes, print ad slicks, postcards and radio scripts.

Golf plans to provide extensive analysis and news coverage from and around the tourney, held at Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Ga. USA Network and CBS will televise the event.

The number of cable systems participating in "Masters Week" has soared since 2000, a Golf spokesman said. This spring, 200 operators serving 40 million homes are set to take part, up from 159 (reaching 18 million) last year and 42 (reaching 4.8 million) in 2000, he said.

Some of Golf's "call-to-order" materials are meant to help operators bolster their digital-cable offerings. The network also will supply charts and graphs to aid affiliates' local ad-sales efforts, as well as training packets and incentives for customer-service representatives.

Golf is asking that affiliates run 200 spots to support "Masters Week" between March 25 and April 14, across such networks as A&E Network, Comedy Central, Discovery Channel, ESPN, ESPN2, Food Network and VH1, as well as the cable news services.

There are also 13 taggable "Master Your Game" featurettes, in which several of the channel's Golf Academy instructors offer swing tips.

Affiliates who submit the required marketing-support documentation by June 3 will be entered into a random drawing for five Golf Channel digital prize packs, including a Sony DVD player and DVDs of two golf movies.

Golf managing director of affiliate marketing and local ad sales Barbara Hayes said the network also is preparing promotional programs for the Canadian Tour (from March into May); "U.S. Open Week" (in June); this summer's "British Open Week" (in July); and "PGA Championship Week" (August). It also plans a big push around "Ryder Cup Week" in September.