First on the tee: How the Charles Schwab Challenge is getting its name out there

By Tom VanHaaren of ESPN–The PGA Tour was one of the last major professional organizations to shut down operations due to the coronavirus pandemic when it pulled the plug after the first round of the Players Championship back on March 12. If all goes as planned, the tour will be one of the first to come back.

With the revised schedule announced for the latter half of the year, the Tour released a planned calendar of events to get the game back up and running.

The first tournament on that list is the Charles Schwab Challenge on June 8 at Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth, Texas. That means, if this schedule holds true, the Charles Schwab Challenge will be one of the first major sporting events to take place since the pandemic shut down athletic events in this country.

The appetite and the pent-up anticipation for sports to come back has built up to a swell that had fans on social media and news outlets eager to talk about the first tournament. That they could actually watch live sports created a flurry of exposure for the tournament, one that could not be replicated without being that first tournament on the schedule.

According to sports sponsorship research company Joyce Julius & Associates, the Charles Schwab Challenge received more than 2,700 mentions throughout news media stories over a three-day period that started two days prior to the PGA Tour’s official announcement. That provided Charles Schwab with an estimated exposure value of more than $5.5 million.

That isn’t in actual dollars, but what it would have cost the company in traditional advertising costs.

The tournament was also mentioned during the same time period in 2,293 social media posts, which would have a value exceeding $450,000. Joyce Julius estimates based on the high viewership for broadcast replays of PGA events and other sporting events, data suggests the Charles Schwab Challenge could receive a minimum of an estimated $17 million in news media and social media exposure surrounding the event this year.

Those numbers are staggering, but Joyce Julius director of sponsorship analytics, Jeremy Creutz, says, this could just be the start rather than the end of the exposure.

“So far, the Charles Schwab Challenge looks like they could double what they’ve had in previous years in exposure value,” Creutz said. “You could be looking at a couple more multipliers, if for some reason they can’t have the event when they want, it’ll get some more exposure then and also when it does actually take place. This could be an ongoing thing as far as exposure value for certain events.”

Tournament director Michael Tothe said those numbers are staggering, but given the anticipation to get back to some kind of normal, they aren’t surprising.

“The Tour came to us and said, ‘OK, here’s what we’re looking at, if we don’t go your week in May, would you be willing to go three weeks later,'” Tothe said. “We raised our hand and said absolutely. The tour said OK, you’re up next and let’s work to see if we can make it happen from a governmental perspective to make sure we have all our ducks in a row.”…