When Jim and Tabitha Furyk made the decision to grow their Furyk & Friends charity golf event into Constellation FURYK & FRIENDS, an official PGA TOUR Champions event, their goal was to give it the national exposure it deserved without sacrificing the intimacy of a local charitable effort.
Thanks in large part to sponsors who understood the value in community, Jim and Tabitha were able to bring their vision to life through organic activations that enhanced the guests’ experience without distracting from it.
VIP Treatment For Players & Guests
Rather than putting their resources behind mass marketing efforts such as car displays and traditional media, branding and signage, Constellation FURYK & FRIENDS came up with different ways for Volvo to activate at the tournament.
Every player in the field received brand-new courtesy cars for the duration of the event, including full-service pick-up and drop-off at the airport and reserved parking spots at the course. Volvo also helped solve the need for shuttles by creating a VIP experience for guests arriving at certain parking lots — instead of riding on a bus, guests had the option to ride in a brand-new Volvo and get dropped off at the clubhouse.
Both of these unique activations provided players and guests with first-class treatment, while allowing them to feel and experience the Volvo in action. The feedback was overwhelmingly positive, with several players and guests contacting Volvo representatives about wanting to make a purchase over the duration of the weekend.
Inviting Partners To Be A Part Of The Process
Too often in the world of corporate sponsorship activation, companies will align their brand with an initiative without really seeing their investment put to use. Making a charitable donation is a lot more meaningful when given the opportunity to dictate how that donation is used, and see it come to fruition.
Constellation FURYK & FRIENDS invited its partners to be a part of the process from the beginning, and PNC Bank seized the opportunity. They chose to support Operation Shower, an event that provides a baby shower for 30+ military moms-to-be in the Jacksonville area. Instead of simply receiving branding as the Presenting Sponsor, PNC Bank participated from start to finish. Representatives helped plan the event and were onsite to speak to the mothers, hand them gifts and thank them for their service.
The event left a lasting impression on PNC Bank and their employees, as they were able to physically see the difference their sponsorship dollars were making.
The Proof Is In The Posting
To accomplish their goal of retaining the tournament’s communal feel, Jim and Tabitha had to ensure the organic experiences they were creating onsite would be reflected in the social media content during and after the event.
Instead of positioning content as something a partner was promoting, they would frame it as something for the fans that their partner was providing. Not only did this authentic integration into organic content align with the experiences onsite, but they resonated with consumers in a big way.
Across all three primary social media channels, the engagement rate during tournament week was 7.9% — only one other event across all PGA TOUR events in September broke 2.0%. On Instagram, the engagement rate was an astounding 9.65%.
By the end of the weekend, Constellation FURYK & FRIENDS became an officially verified account and the 2nd most followed PGA TOUR Champions event.
Setting The Standard For The Future
The core concept of what makes any philanthropic sporting event successful is how close fans and partners can feel to the event, the players and most importantly, the cause. In their inaugural year as a PGA TOUR Champions event, Constellation FURYK & FRIENDS set the standard for taking a local community effort to the national stage.
Everything from the partner integrations onsite and online, to the way in which they engaged fans and members of the Jacksonville community was done in an authentic way that was true to the identity of the tournament.
In a corner of the country that’s accustomed to the large-scale platforms of the NFL and THE PLAYERS, Constellation FURYK & FRIENDS delivered on an approach rooted in engagement and intimacy.