Women’s golf has been steadily growing over the past years and we have been asking ourselves if it is now on the same pace as men’s golf. The answer is clear and shown by the young stars dominating the tour. Therefore the LPGA in conjunction with the PGA Tour have announced a strategic alliance agreement, which will take an important role in the exposure of women’s golf at the same level as the men’s.
Both tours have already worked together for different events but past on to formalized their longstanding relationship by entering into collaboration for a long-term written partnership.
The alliance between the two organizations will focus on working in areas such as schedule coordination, joint marketing programs, domestic television representation, and digital media as well as exploring the potential development of joint events. Even though the tours have emphasized that their association will have as main goal the overall growth of the sport the LPGA could benefit it’s tour enormously.
Since 2010 when Michael Whan was named Commissioner of the LPGA the tour has been able to increase the number of tournaments and their purses. When Whan first took his position the tour had only 24 events per year. This 2016 season that number is increased once more and is now 34. For the first time in the tour’s history the players are competing for more than $63 million dollars.
After both tours announced the news that they would be working together Whan shared a statement with his thoughts on how the alliance would benefit the growth of the game.
“We believe the PGA Tour has significant expertise in the areas that we will focus on together and working more closely with them carries with it the very real potential of positively impacting our members, our tournaments, and our ability to grow our sport around the world,” said LPGA Commissioner Mike Whan. “We look forward to working with the PGA Tour team to deliver a positive impact for our sport.”
Fewer viewers and smaller sponsorship commitments on the women’s side can explain the smaller purses for the LPGA players compared to their PGA Tour counterparts. The LPGA has worked hard during the past five years to add sponsors and tournaments to increase purses. Proof of this are the just over 16 million dollars purses that will be distributed for the five majors of the 2016 season.
One of the main parts on which the LPGA could capitalize with this partnership is getting renowned local sponsors. Although Rolex, CME Group, Kia, KPMG, All Nippon Airways, Ricoh and Evian are already part of their team they would need to seek for more United States based companies who would be willing to sponsor them. This is something that the PGA Tour does very well and on which the ladies tour could take advantage.
The PGA and LPGA stated that the agreement involves no formal financial investment or transfer of ownership or control, and that both parties remain wholly separate and independent organizations.