LPGA: An investment eagle

April 04, 2022
Sports BizGolf
HARRY HOW/GETTY IMAGES
HARRY HOW/GETTY IMAGES

The GIST: The LPGA’s first major of the season, The Chevron Championship (formerly ANA Inspiration), was more than just a showcase for Jennifer Kupcho and her $750K winnings. The competition helped document the rise of women’s golf, with both prize money and brand investment on the rise.

The details: Kupcho’s prize is a share of the larger $5 million purse, a 62% increase from last year’s $3.1 million. The move mirrors the recent LPGA trend, with overall tour prize money growing from $67 million in 2019 to $90 million this year.

  • Partnering with the “right” brands, as U.S. Golf Association CEO Mike Whan put it, has been instrumental in the LPGA’s growth holistically. Accounting firm KPMG and insurance company Aon entered the women’s golf space as part of mutual inclusion efforts.

Zooming out: Over 72 million Americans engaged with the LPGA in 2021, according to SponsorPulse,* up from 52.4 million in 2019. The LPGA’s strategy of partnering with organizations that align with its values has fueled its rise, and, in the process, carved out space for unique brand engagements.

  • Many of the LPGA’s partners have created programs directly benefiting the athletes, including mothers on the tour.
  • KPMG paid Stacy Lewis while she was on maternity leave, and the sports world is slowly catching on. In February, Trek-Segafredo committed to paying British cyclist Lizzie Deignan during her pregnancy.
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