LPGA to award $101.4 million in prize money throughout 2023
The GIST: The LPGA is flush with cash. On Friday, the golf tour announced that players will be awarded $101.4 million in prize money across 33 tournaments in 2023, its largest kitty to date. Thanks to recent success with corporate partners, the LPGA has continued to steadily increase earnings.
The details: Next year’s number beats the $93.5 million players earned over 32 tournaments in 2022, and may still grow during 2023 if brands follow this year’s pattern. Majors sponsors alone contributed almost $15 million to the pot last year, with several adding after the start of the season.
- Leading the prize purse leaderboard? President Cup sponsor Cognizant. The tech company inked a multiyear deal with the LPGA in February 2021, doubling the tournament’s prize money to $3 million.
The context: Business is booming across the board for the LPGA. It signed nearly 1K partners in the last year, with new partners accounting for 18% of deals. New fans are also tuning in — 237K watched the Golf Channel’s January broadcast of the Hilton Grand Vacations Tournament of Champions, marking 32% growth YoY.
Zooming out: Friday’s announcement demonstrates the LPGA’s terrific financial health, but LIV Golf still looms large over the women’s game. If the Saudi-backed tour actually launches a women’s equivalent, it’s unclear if the LPGA will be rich enough to independently compete.
- Opinion remains divided. LPGA commissioner Mollie Marcoux Samaan said Friday that “a fractured golf environment is not good for anyone,” while players admitted the paychecks may be difficult to turn down.
- Precedent also suggests sponsors aren’t aligned on sportswashing. While some brands have backed out of deals with LIV Golf players, Qatar’s World Cup is underway with many of FIFA’s partners still in tow (if obscured). Stay tuned.