At Dittoe PR, we pride ourselves on truly becoming an extension of our clients’ marketing teams, and that’s why so many of our clients have partnered with us for numerous years.
The Western Golf Association (WGA) is one of our favorite examples. The organization conducts the BMW Championship, the penultimate event in the PGA TOUR’s FedExCup Playoffs, and oversees the sole beneficiary of the prestigious event—the Evans Scholars Foundation, which provides full college tuition and housing scholarships to students with financial need and strong caddie and academic records.
Every other year, the BMW Championship is played in the Chicago area. In off years, it rotates between a handful of different cities across the U.S, including Indianapolis. The WGA has always been strict about its policy to partner with a local PR agency in each market to promote the tournament.
Our team was fortunate to handle the public relations for the BMW Championship in 2012 and 2016—the only two times the tournament was played in Central Indiana (Carmel, to be exact). We were responsible for securing local media coverage, producing content to drive consumer interest, and planning and running Media Day as well as other promotional events leading up to the tournament. In addition, our team was on-site at the golf course at all times throughout tournament week.
In 2013 and 2014, the WGA also contracted Dittoe PR to handle media relations for the Hotel Fitness Championship, a Web.com Tour event in Fort Wayne, Indiana.
Our PR campaigns for the BMW Championship and Hotel Fitness Championship were such a success that the WGA selected Dittoe PR to lead its PR efforts for the 2017 BMW Championship in Lake Forest, Illinois. This marked the first time the organization selected a firm outside of the local market.
Of course, we were beyond thrilled and honored for the opportunity, but we also knew we had our work cut out for us to achieve the same results in Chicago that we did in Indiana. For one, Chicago is a much larger media market, ranking No. 3 on the Nielsen Designated Market Areas list compared to Indianapolis, which always hovers around No. 27. Chicago is also home to more professional sports teams and organizations than Indianapolis. And, the city’s North Shore hosts the BMW Championship every other year, while the tournament has only come to Central Indiana twice.
One of Dittoe PR’s primary objectives was to secure media coverage for the tournament several months leading up to the event, which can be especially difficult when you’re competing with the Chicago Blackhawks and Bulls during their playoff seasons, the kick-off of the Cubs season and constant Bears coverage.
One of our ‘secrets’ to our success in the Indy market are the strong relationships we have with local media members. At the very onset of our PR campaign for the 2017 BMW Championship, we decided to take our account team’s networking talents to the Windy City! We set up brief meetings with top producers and media personalities at the local TV and radio stations as well as reporters at the local print and digital publications. We introduced ourselves and learned how we could best accommodate their tournament coverage and help with any golf-related content throughout the spring and summer.
Our in-person meetings paid off. Throughout the spring and summer, we were able to consistently secure media coverage and new opportunities to promote the tournament. We used a number of story angles to get the word out. From highlighting local tournament volunteers in their community newspapers to touting a Father’s Day ticket package on morning radio talk shows to promoting a week-long interactive event at Riverside Plaza in downtown Chicago on local TV newscasts, our team worked tirelessly to keep the BMW Championship in the news throughout the six months leading up to the tournament.
In addition to media relations, we planned and executed the 2017 BMW Championship Media Day at Conway Farms in mid-August. We handled nearly every aspect of the event, including creating and sending invitations, drafting talking points for each speaker, producing a multimedia slideshow, coordinating a Skype interview with PGA TOUR player Paul Casey, facilitating on-site media interview requests, developing media kits, organizing gift bags, and working with the A/V company on all technical needs.
Months of planning resulted in a seamless Skype interview with Casey, well-prepped speakers, a flawless presentation, and ultimately, an incredibly successful event promoting the tournament’s return to Conway Farms.
In total, 78 members of the media attended Media Day and we secured 26 pieces of coverage within 24 hours.
From Media Day through tournament week (Sept. 12-17), our PR push never slowed down, and we were able to achieve the same results in Chicago in 2017 that we did in Indianapolis in 2012 and 2016.
From April to mid-September 2017, our team secured 249 local media stories, resulting in 176,936,443 media impressions and a publicity value of $2,659,466.