There aren’t many things better than being outside on a 75-degree day, playing hooky from work, and mayyybe having a cold beverage. The magic of the WM Phoenix Open is that this behavior is not only accepted, it’s encouraged.
When it comes to the WM Phoenix Open, there’s a reason it’s called “The People’s Open”—it caters the event to its audience, welcoming everyone from lifelong fans to golf newbies to one of the PGA TOUR’s most popular and exciting tournaments. It’s easy to see why visitors from around the country flock to partake, but here are five reasons why we love it from a branding perspective.
1. No Golf Knowledge Required
Attendees don’t need to know the difference between an iron and a wood or have heard the word “birdie” before to have a great time at The WM Phoenix Open. While the tournament is one of several dozen stops on the PGA TOUR, it’s known as “The Greatest Show on Grass,” and “The People’s Open,” and was recently named the PGA TOUR “Tournament of the Year.” Sponsors of The WM Phoenix Open have an incredible opportunity to create awareness and provide experiences that go beyond the tournament, and even beyond golf itself, due to the variety of audiences that attend each year. Unlike other events on the tour with a more polished and traditional (dare we say “stuffy”) feel, The WM Phoenix Open’s sponsors typically lean into the party atmosphere platform that’s already established, casting a wide net to capture all attendees, not just the avid golfers.
2. Unique Day Atmosphere and Concert Series at Night
As one of the most unique (and loud) events in golf (and sports in general), The WM Phoenix Open pulls in over 700,000 fans over the course of the week-long tournament. Here are some of the things that set the tone.
The term “the crowd goes wild” just might have been coined to describe the WM Phoenix Open. Fans line up outside the gates before they open to rush to a spot at the famous 16th hole (where, in 2022, the crowd threw their drinks onto the course after Sam Ryder hit a hole-in-one). Groups dressed as bananas and the characters from Sesame Street are on their fourth drink before noon. Cheers erupt after every tee-off. It’s an atmosphere unlike any other.
The last putt of the day doesn’t mean the party ends. The Coors Light Bird’s Nest, a 48,000 sq. ft. tent, hosts some of the biggest performers, ending late into the night. Prior to this year’s event, Post Malone will take center stage at the 3rd annual 16th hole Concert in the Coliseum (sponsored by Swire Coca-Cola).
Before the tournament officially begins on Thursday, The WM Phoenix Open invites celebrities and athletes to take the course in the Annexus Pro-Am, a fan-favorite event. This year, football star Larry Fitzgerald and 2x Olympic Gold medalist Carli Lloyd are among the golf amateurs making an appearance.
Yes, most golf courses are set in a beautiful landscape—but being located in Phoenix, we’re pretty partial to the desert views surrounding TPC Scottsdale.
3. Brand Activation Opportunities
From golf attire and paraphernalia to local hotels and food and beverage (of course), brands are able to show up and show out at The WM Phoenix Open, with activations getting bigger and better every year.
With that party atmosphere comes party brands—as usual, this year we’ll see tons of beer and liquor tents, restaurant concession stands, and brand-sponsored hospitality venues. We’ll also see sponsor activations just inside the main entrance, from “putting for prizes” to cars for sale and everything in between.
And, of course, don’t forget the title sponsor, Waste Management—this year marks the 14th year of sponsorship for the waste service provider, and with that comes that WM logo plastered throughout the event, with an emphasis on sustainability through their Recycle Right campaign and their Zero-Waste messaging.
Many brands use major sporting events to schmooze their clients and partners—from the NBA to the NFL and everything in between. The WM Phoenix Open provides the time, atmosphere, and amenities that create the perfect cocktail for hosting, giving brands the option to gift tickets, walk the course with clients, or book a box and play host.
5. Charity, Sustainability, and Economy
The WM Phoenix Open, although fun, also has a more significant impact—on the economy, the environment, and local non-profits.
The WM Phoenix Open raises so much money for charity that a non-profit called Thunderbirds Charities was formed in 1986 to distribute the funds to organizations in the Greater Phoenix Metropolitan Area. Since then, over $176 million has been raised for Arizona-based charities.
Waste Management, along with the Thunderbirds, tournament vendors, and the PGA TOUR, ensures The WM Phoenix Open maintains its status as a carbon neutral and zero waste event through “recycling, composting, donation, and energy conversion.”
When it comes to the economy, according to the WM Phoenix Open’s website, the event “creates a positive economic impact of over $400 million, one of the largest for any golf event in America.”
Brand activations and experiential marketing at The WM Phoenix Open aren’t a new thing, but it’s a trend that we’re expecting to see more of in 2024. Get more in-depth information on this trend and other trends in store for this year, here.