The Evolution Of The Ryder Cup
“There is something unique about the competition – there is nothing else like it. It offers something to the fans and the partners that is completely different.” (Guy Kinnings, Deputy CEO for European Tour and Ryder Cup Director)
With 2,500 hours of live coverage and a household reach of 620M across 180 countries, the Ryder Cup is undoubtedly one of the greatest entertainment spectacles on the calendar. It transcends the game of golf and boasts the greatest rivalry in sport. The United States and Europe go head to head, and the best players in the world become part of teams united in common purpose. So what does it take to deliver success at this iconic event?
We asked this question in our latest webinar, ‘The Greatest Rivalry – The Evolution of the Ryder Cup’ where we heard first-hand from some of the leading stakeholders associated with the global spectacle. Hosted by CSM Associate Director Tom Ainscough, the illustrious panel included past Ryder Cup Captains Paul McGinley and Corey Pavin, Deputy CEO for European Tour and Ryder Cup Director – Guy Kinnings, Chief Commercial Officer of PGA of America – Jeff Price, and Director Global Sponsorships and Corporate Events at UPS – Jennifer Oliveras.
The session teed off with Pavin illustrating the intensity of playing in the biennial contest, “Paul and I have done everything – playing, Vice-Captaining and Captaining. As a player, I was fortunate enough to hit the first shot at the 1993 Ryder Cup, and it was very hard for me to get the ball on the tee, I was that nervous. I certainly have never been as nervous as I have been in the Ryder Cup. That’s how much it means to us.”
With McGinley, Price and Kinnings each reflecting on the unique nature of the Ryder Cup, the conversation turned to sponsor UPS’ golf heritage and how the brand has used its Ryder Cup partnership globally to date: “It provided an opportunity to expand our golf portfolio with a truly global event, and the focus on teamwork that makes the Ryder Cup so unique was something that worked for our brand from a storytelling perspective”, explained Oliveras. “The camaraderie is unique, and something we really wanted to capitalise on. We were also looking for a partnership that could be activated both sides of the pond.”
On the subject of team building, McGinley divulged the key to building a successful Ryder Cup team, saying, “I’m very fortunate to have transcended so many eras of European golf in my career. I saw my Captaincy as an evolution of all those experiences, and one of the underlying principles we had in the Europe team was the element of fun. As much as it’s pressurised, and we were nervous behind the scenes, it should also be a lot of fun.” He added, “When you have that attitude, it becomes more about excitement than fear.”
Next the topic of what sets apart the Ryder Cup for its partners was discussed, with Kinnings giving some insight into the inner workings of the event, and Price outlining why the support of partners remains crucial. “The work behind the scenes has to mirror the level of extraordinary teamwork we see in the event – to make sure the product is as good as it can be, and that can only be done with complete teamwork”, explained Kinnings.
“Ryder Cup 2018 at Le Golf National, saw 270,000 spectators from more than 90 countries attend – demonstrating that this is more than just Europe and America. 25% of our audience platform comes from Asia, showing the region’s strength of interest in Ryder Cup and golf in general and we expect this to keep growing.”
Price added, “We look to the global iconic brands to help us tell global stories. Ultimately this is a global event and the interest we get in countries outside the US and Europe is very significant. As we think about the growth of the competition across the next 25 years, our worldwide partners are so important in helping us to share and elevate the unique Ryder Cup experience around the globe.”
The final discussion turned to the future, with Kinnings highlighting the importance of sustainability for the Ryder Cup and its partners, referencing the Ryder Cup Green Drive which showcases environmental responsibility.
The 43rd Ryder Cup will be held at Whistling Straits in September, and with future events in Rome in 2023, Bethpage Black in 2025, and Adare Manor in 2027, there’s plenty for commercial partners to get excited about, as Oliveras summed up, “Rome, New York, Ireland… all the upcoming markets are second to none, and we know the onsite experience will be unmatched, including hospitality and access to the 24 players.”
This was echoed by Price, who added, “New York is going to be like no other, with so much excitement amongst the fanbase. The entire year of 2025, building towards Bethpage Black, will be a tremendous platform for all stakeholders.”
If you would like to watch the webinar back in full, click here to sign up and receive it.
And if you would like to find out more information about the Ryder Cup, please get in touch with Ben Holland – firstname.lastname@example.org.