Alpha Media Group's Maxim magazine is bringing its famed Super Bowl party to ... golf and horse racing?
Golf and horse racing.
Maxim will be hosting its invite-only bash at The Masters golf tournament in Augusta, Ga., next week and at the Kentucky Derby in Louisville, Ky., in May.
The sexual escapades of Tiger Woods aside -- not to mention the claims of PGA golfer John Daly's ex-wife, who alleges in a new book that prostitution was taking place behind the 16th hole at Southwind Golf Club in Memphis -- it would seem that the golf and horse racing crowd isn't in Maxim's wheelhouse.
Too snoozy and too snooty, right?
Not so fast, says Maxim Chief Revenue Officer Ben Madden.
"The thinking is we've had so much success around the Maxim Super Bowl party -- even when the economy was diving, the demand from marketers and high-end consumers never abated," he said. "Certainly we want to be in the areas where our partners want to be, where our high-end consumers want to be, and where there's a sports moment involved. The Masters and the Kentucky Derby certainly fit that bill."
Maxim's Super Bowl party annually costs deep into the seven figures, though the magazine's corporate sponsors pony up their fair share. While Mr. Madden is still negotiating with sponsors for the Derby, partners for The Masters include Lamborghini, Michelob Ultra beer, KRU82 Vodka and Odyssey Golf.
Karen Post, a branding expert based in Tampa, Fla., questioned whether The Masters and the Kentucky Derby is the right fit for Maxim.
"What this tells me is either they're idiots for trying this, or they have the research that proves that their readership is evolving," Ms. Post said. "I would suspect that for them to invest that kind of money they have some pretty good research that tells them this is where they need to be. It's just that when you think of a Maxim reader you don't think [The Masters and Kentucky Derby]."
Without giving away the company secrets, Mr. Madden said the research has been done.
"The Masters is one of the ultimate guy weekends," he said. "There's a lot of corporate people there, there's a lot of client-hosting and there are a lot of guys who have achieved a certain status, financially and otherwise. It's a place for us to be."
Plus, there's something to be said for the Maxim name. Despite being only 10 years old, the Maxim Super Bowl party has quickly grown to A-list status -- partly because of its exclusivity, partly for its penchant for keeping the location a secret, and partly for the experience. The 2005 bash in Houston was legendary for its attendees being bussed to a secret spot 30 miles outside of town, as well as for the outrageous, almost-bacchanalian party itself.
At this past February's Super Bowl in Dallas, ticket brokering company Golden Sports Tours was asking $2,500 a ticket to get into the Maxim party -- $1,000 more than a ticket to the Playboy party and $1,200 more than a ticket to the ultra-exclusive NFL Commissioner's Party. The owner of a competing ticket broker service said, "The Maxim Super Bowl party is the place to see and be seen. I don't know about the golf, but I'll tell you right now the Kentucky Derby party is going to be the bomb. Lots of celebrities go to the Derby and there's lots of money there."
Sports marketing expert Robert Tuchman, whose new venture, New York-based Skylight Entertainment, is partnering with Maxim to promote The Masters and Kentucky Derby parties, said this was a natural evolution for the magazine.
"Maxim has used the last 10 years building up its brand at the Super Bowl," Mr. Tuchman said. "Smart media companies are developing their brands beyond digital and into events and partnerships to capitalize on their reach and identity."