Databank Sports: Site drives PGA to top sport spender

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Rabid golf fans who flock to the Internet to feed their obsessions helped propel Professional Golfers' Association site PGATour.com to the top among sports advertisers who ran online campaigns during August, according to research and analysis firm Jupiter Media Metrix.

Several different banners-the majority of which ran on partner site Sportsline.com's flagship site CBS.SportsLine.com-promoted both content on the site and shopping at its store, PGATourStop.com, which launched in May. Some banners promoted "appointment Internet," such as the site's 11:30 a.m. Monday chats and analysis, said Len Watson, VP-Internet strategy for the site.

"Our viewers and golf fans tend to be more upscale. They tend to have a higher education, they tend to have higher income and they tend to be very fanatic about the game," he said. "The great thing about it is the Internet demographics and computer and golf demographics are in sync."

In addition to cross-promotion during network broadcasts of tour events, print ads for the site have run in Gannett Co.'s USA Today, Time4Media's Golf Magazine, Turnstile Publishing Co.'s Golfweek and trades such as Street & Smith Sports Group's SportsBusiness Journal.

The ads for the PGATourStop.com, which have the simple message "Shop the Official Store of the PGA Tour," also ran on sites including Golfweek.com, Golf Digest Cos.' Golfdigest.com, USAToday.com, USA Networks' Citysearch and Ticketmaster.com. New banners began running at the end of August that feature players wearing products for sale at the site.

Kirsten Sabia, new-media account manager, said the site's most successful campaign to date was one that had the least promotion. Several weeks ago it began selling PGA baseball hats that say "United We Stand" with an American flag on the front. The items sell for $12.50, $7 of which goes to the New York Police Department and Fire Department of New York family relief funds. As of last week, the tour had raised more than $50,000 for the charities, with the help of a small number of banners on the homepage, players and caddies wearing the merchandise and on-air plugs by Walt Disney Co.'s ESPN.

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