MasterCard International has signed a multiyear sponsorship agreement with the Colonial men's professional golf tournament in Fort Worth.
The New York-based association was the "presenting sponsor" for this year's Colonial, which ran last Thursday through Sunday.
Starting in 1996, the tournament will be renamed the MasterCard Colonial.
Mava K. Heffler, MasterCard's vice president for global promotions, described this year's sponsorship, which involved billboards placed at the site, as "a good foot-in-the-door, so to speak, for leveraging our programs and promotions in 1996."
She added that the sponsorship would enable MasterCard to go beyond brand exposure and "branch out and create platforms that support specific MasterCard products and services," such as Maestro, MasterMoney, and the MasterCard/Cirrus automated teller machine network.
MasterCard said it will publicize its sponsorship on television throughout the year during major sporting events likely to be viewed by the affluent golfer. Print advertising will be used as well.
For its title sponsorship, MasterCard will receive the right to use the tournament logo in advertising and promotional materials. Other benefits include priority advertising slots during and around the CBS television broadcast, opening and closing billboards during each telecast, and brand exposure in an estimated 100 million households in Japan, Europe, the Middle East, and Asia through the tournament rebroadcast.
Beginning with next year's tournament, MasterCard will present what it is calling the "MasterCard Award" program. A $5,000 donation to charity will be made by MasterCard in the name of the golfer who makes the most outstanding or memorable shot of the tournament, as determined by a panel of journalists.
H. Eugene Lockhart, MasterCard's president and chief executive, praised the Colonial partnership, describing it as "one of the most prestigious golf tournaments in the country."
The Colonial, which will mark its 50th anniversary next year, is the oldest men's golf tournament to be played at its original site. Timothy W. Finchem, tour commissioner of the Professional Golfer's Association, which certifies the event, characterized the Colonial as "one of our most prestigious events."