US golf’s PGA of America organising body has entered into a strategic partnership with Legends, one of the premium sports marketing agencies in that country, which has now secured rights to operate merchandising of all kinds for the organisation’s top-tier events over the course of the partnership.
The deal will stretch across various top-tier events including the PGA Championship, the Ryder Cup (the biennial competition between US and European national teams), the Women’s PGA Championship and the Senior PGA Championship.
The body’s merchandising and licensing department, currently led by Michael Quirk, will become part of the Legends Global Merchandise division, with Quirk continuing to lead his part of the team, in the role of senior vice-president of golf and strategic growth.
As well as this, member clubs of the PGA will be able to utilise the Legends e-commerce feature and create online stores for their own facilities and merchandise shops.
Mike Tomon, Legends’ co-president and chief operating officer, said: “With PGA’s merchandise team integrating with Legends Global Merchandise, together we will deliver a seamless omnichannel experience on-site and through e-commerce to build a dynamic merchandise approach for the future.”
Previously, these functions were overseen by Legends’ rival Fanatics.
Jim Richerson, president of the PGA of America, added: “Given Legends’ experience and expertise, this partnership is a great opportunity for the PGA of America to advance our merchandising strategy for spectator championships, where there is growing demand … Bringing in Legends to handle this expanding area of our association is a logical next step in these efforts.”
Late last week, Legends announced two senior appointments in the form of Michael Gandler as chief revenue officer at its international division and Brian Killingsworth as chief marketing officer.
Gandler has been brought in to drive new business and growth opportunities for Legends International and will work aside regional managing directors.
He brings with him 20 years of experience in the global sports and entertainment industry, having led the commercialisation and marketing for a host of major organisations.
Killingsworth, meanwhile, has been appointed to oversee Legends’ marketing and brand strategy, communications, sales campaigns and marketing metrics, digital platforms and creative services team.
He will develop campaigns and also provide marketing and branding consultation for clients.
Legends already has partnerships with a host of major sports teams around the world, including soccer giants Real Madrid and Manchester City, NBA basketball's LA Clippers and Detroit Pistons, the prestigious Wimbledon tennis tournament and SoFi Stadium, the home of the NFL's Los Angeles Chargers and Los Angeles Rams.
At the start of this year, Sixth Street, a global investment firm, acquired a majority stake in the agency, valuing it at around $1.35 billion.