The 2014 Ryder Cup concluded this past Sunday, with the European team overpowering the United States in a landslide victory. World #1 Rory Mcilroy led the spirited Europeans with his phenomenal ability to dominate any golf course in his way. Stellar iron shots, crafty short-game shots, and blistering drives from the 25-year-old Irishman left fans in awe. He led the field in driving distance during the Ryder Cup and finished 3rd overall in average driving distance on the PGA Tour this season.
In January 2013, world no. 1 Rory Mcilroy signed a 10-year, $200 million contract with Nike Golf. He ditched his previous sponsor, Titleist, that was paying him significantly less. Nike saw tremendous potential in Mcilroy’s game, so they wanted to invest in him with the notion that he’ll be the best player in golf for the next 10 years. So far, he’s making their dreams come true. In 2014 he won the British Open, the PGA Championship, and was named the PGA of America Player of the Year. He soared up the World Rankings list and is cemented in at number 1. Throughout Nike’s history, they have signed HUGE deals with athletes like Roger Federer, Tiger Woods, Michael Jordan, and a plethora of other superstars. By adding Mcilroy to the list, Nike Golf has recruited yet another money-making machine.
The consumers in the golf club market are always craving for new ways to improve their game. They’re always striving for more distance, more accuracy, and more consistency. They have the illusion that buying a new golf club with “new” technology will improve their play dramatically. Nike Golf does a spectacular job at giving consumers the idea that their clubs are the best on the market. Flashy colors, new technologies, clever designs, and the timeless Nike swoosh make their clubs appealing to golfers across the world. Having Mcilroy in commercials and advertisements greatly increases sales for the golf sector of Nike as well. Also, Mcilroy personally uses the clubs that Nike distributes to golf retailers everywhere, so the consumer gets exactly what they see him use on TV. Who wouldn’t want the same driver they see Rory consistently smash 300+ yards?
At the Ryder Cup, Rory decided to use the new “Vapor Pro Driver” that Nike plans to unveil to the public next year. Television announcers and viewers alike were astonished by the neon green color it had, saying they could see the club from a mile away. Meanwhile, Rory was using this showy club to pulverize drives right down the middle of every fairway. If you don’t think that will boost sales for this club next year, you should probably take a marketing class. Having the best pro golfer in the world dominate the sport while using your product is a dream come true. Having that alone gives your consumers interest and trust in your brand. To earn this trust, Nike had to invest. The 10-year contract that Nike signed with Mcilroy seems like an excessive amount of money, but if you factor in the increased demand he is giving your products, you might reevaluate the deal. Nike will continue to reap the benefits from having Rory Mcilroy as their top golf Ambassador. Sales will launch through the roof, and their products (especially the Vapor Pro Driver) will be ubiquitous.