PGA Tour’s Partnership With Stryker A Case Study In Sports Sponsorship

Jason Belzer

For non-traditional brands seeking to create awareness among consumers, the usage of sports sponsorship is often the most proficient vehicle in accomplishing just that. There is no better example of this than that which is provided by Stryker SYK -0.23%Corporation’s recent announcement that it was becoming the “Official Joint Replacement Product of the PGA TOUR”.  While the words joint replacement and professional golf aren’t exactly synonymous, from a marketing perspective there is actually a great deal of synergy between the two.

Much like other medical device and pharmaceutical companies, Stryker Corporation, was faced with with a perplexing marketing question – How do they bring awareness of their company and its products to the general public while still adhering to the traditional ethics of the he medical industry? After all, it should not be the patient that recommends to the doctor what type of treatment they should be receiving.

Stryker started by looking at the simple fact that both hip and knee replacements have nearly doubled in the United States over the last decade. While such operations often bring relief to patients who have suffered from joint paint and increase basic levels of mobility, they also often severely curtail those individuals capacity to participate in sports that put a great deal of pressure on one’s joints. That being said, recent advances in orthopedic technology by Stryker have greatly reduced such post-surgery constraints, allowing those individuals who are equipped with their products to participate in the activities and sports they love.

According to the National Golf Foundation, 83% of golfers are age 40 or over. Much like the market for hip and knee replacement surgeries, 40% of professional golf fans also fall between the ages of 45-64. Moreover, several PGA Tour and Champions Tour members including Frank Funk and Hal Sutton have had joint replacements using Stryker products.

Sutton, whose 14 PGA TOUR victories include the 1983 PGA Championship and THE PLAYERS Championship in 1983 and 2000, has been a Stryker brand ambassador since last year. In 2012, at age 54, after speaking with his doctor and learning about the differences in hip replacements, Sutton made the decision to undergo a total hip replacement and received Stryker’s Mobile Bearing Hip™. One year later, he received a matching Stryker Mobile Bearing Hip on the right side.


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Josh Sandberg

Josh Sandberg is the President and CEO of Ortho Spine Partners and sits on several company and industry related Boards. He also is the Creator and Editor of OrthoSpineNews.

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