If you ask me, the biggest legend to quit in the last few weeks is still John Ourand.
Sources told me and my colleague Josh Carpenter that the PGA Tour and its prospective investors are eyeing Brian Rolapp, the NFL’s Chief Media and Business Officer, to lead the newly capitalized global golf business. It would be a big change for Rolapp, who has been in the NFL for more than 20 years, but it would make sense given the strong, stable state of NFL media revenue and commissioner Roger Goodell’s recent contract extension.
According to sources, Rolapp has not yet contacted the tour directly, and whether a deal with the planned PGA Tour Enterprises is available depends on the success of ongoing negotiations between the PGA Tour, the Saudi Public Investment Fund and Strategic Enterprise. Sports Group. In addition, there are other names, including longtime ESPN and short-lived LIV Golf executive Sean Bratches.
Whoever heads PGA Tour Enterprises could have a $7 billion balance sheet to work with, along with an unprecedented chance to market the packaged commercial assets of the existing PGA Tour, DP World Tour and PIF. (Rolapp isn’t much of a golfer himself, which would be unusual for a top executive in the sport, but won’t disqualify, insiders said.)
Rolapp, 51, has a strong reputation around the NFL for controlling the media he both owns and operates and for handling high-value rights deals. He was long considered the most likely successor to Goodell. But Goodell signed a new contract extension through 2027, cooling succession speculation, and Rolappa still hasn’t been given a title like “chief operating officer” that would clearly identify him as a successor. In addition, the league’s main rights contracts run through at least 2029. Given that, it’s no surprise that the golf brain trust thinks Rolapp can handle the change.
Bratches can also make sense, checking a lot of boxes for new commercial ventures with a resume. He’s been with ESPN for nearly three decades, which has come in handy given the tour’s construction of the 165,000-square-foot PGA Tour Studios in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., and plans to invest more in content. Bratches also has global stints as the former head of commercial operations for Formula 1. Some golfers, including Rory McIlroy, have pushed for the tour to become more global if a deal is struck.
Finally, Bratches has ties to PIF, who have been selected to manage the commercial operations of LIV Golf through the launch of the series in 2022. Notably, Bratches left the role just six months after Greg Norman’s comments about Jamaal Khashoggi’s murder. , but the connection is still there. Korn Ferry is said to be helping with the search for the tour.
The PGA Tour and Rolapp declined to comment for this story.
The prospect of a play-off is both enticing and frustrating for club marketers and sponsorship managers. It’s a massive breakout moment, but activation is difficult due to short planning timelines and a laser focus on football operations. This goes double if you’re trying to activate outside the US
But at least four NFL playoff teams with rights under the NFL’s Global Markets program will try this weekend:
Chiefs: Drive-in movie theater party in Mexico City. Fans are encouraged to tailgate, just like at Arrowhead Stadium. In both Mexico and Germany, the Chiefs produced local language versions of the “Postseason” playoff campaign. Also in Germany, the Chiefs are sending gift boxes of Chiefs merchandise to key influencers.
Rams: Check out the festivities at bars in Mexico City, Guadalajara, Monterrey and Cabo San Lucas — each designated “Certified Aries Houses” — with prizes. In Australia, the Rams are working with a ‘Verified Home of the Rams’ to encourage fans to watch the game during their morning coffee breaks (the game is Monday morning Aussie time).
Texans: Check out Mexican parties at Buffalo Wild Wings Leones in Monterrey and Applebee’s Carso in Mexico City. Texans will send some goods and brands to businesses.
Dolphins: Check out a pub party in São Paulo, Brazil on Saturday night. The pub will be equipped with Dolphins decor and a photo booth. Fans wearing Dolphins gear will be eligible for prizes.
The Jets’ high football hopes were dashed early in the season, but the business side grew domestic revenue by 22% last year with 32 new sponsors added, said Jeff Fernandez, vice president of business development and initiatives. Beyond the trade for Aaron Rodgers, the key to their success is investing in new sponsorship assets and business intelligence, he said.
Eleven of these new sponsors, including US Virgin Islands Tourism, have never sponsored an NFL property before. USVI agreed to sponsor the Jets’ tailgate zone and indoor pregame show, which increased in value when they moved it from a studio to the lots outside MetLife Stadium. It wasn’t cheap, but the switch gave the show a live audience energy and a more prominent platform for the islands to compete with other Caribbean destinations. “There’s more we can do with them,” Fernandez said.
The Jets have invested heavily in social media content, taking the organic “Jets Twitter” community and developing it with more energy and voice than their own accounts. From their new One Jets Drive Entertainment production shop, they created series such as Flight 2023: Ascension and Calling Canton. Aside from investment in assets, Fernandez said the team’s CRM database helps them track key sponsor metrics, both in setting goals and proving their value during negotiations and over the life of the contract.
“Optimism on the field doesn’t always carry over from the beginning of the season to the end of the season, but business-wise, we’ve been slow and steady,” Fernandez said.
Much of the team’s energy was focused on auto sales (Honda-sponsored boot camp), finance (DimeBank acquired radio rights), alcohol/spirits (named MolsonCoors mezzanine club), technology (Hubspot acquired in the fourth quarter), and tourism.
The Jets now have about 120 total sponsors.
With the NFL postseason days away, layoffs, not the playoffs, are the main concern at the league’s Park Avenue, Manhattan headquarters, as sources told my colleague Terry Lefton that a voluntary letter was sent to more than 200 league employees across departments. purchase package on Monday.
- The Chiefs, with fans rejoicing over the long-awaited change in ownership, led all NFL teams in attendance growth to 63,951 (combined), with a 10% increase in average crowds, according to SBJ’s analysis of published box scores for the 2023 season. with SBJ research chief David Broughton).
- Bills QB Josh Allen and CBS’ Jim Nantz, Tony Romo and Tracy Wolfson are featured in a new Paramount+ commercial spot that will debut during Sunday’s Steelers-Bills AFC Wild Card game, SBJ’s Austin Karp reports.
- SBJ’s Ethan Joyce notes that OneCourt used the Chiefs game to test its technology, which it hopes will help bring live games to people who are blind and visually impaired.
- Karp reports that for the 2023 regular season, the NFL had its best average attendance for games since 2015, tying 2010 for the second-best season on record. Regular season games averaged 17.9 million viewers this season, up 7% from last year and the best since the league averaged 18.1 million in 2015 (an all-time record).