and tennis manufacturers/sponsors at the first Challenge. Maintaining their sincerity of purpose and presence at the event, Titleist “has been receptive to all groups, long before Tiger[Woods]mania hit America,” notes the company’s Director of Special Markets Craig Bowen.
Citing tournament sponsorship as “an extension of what we already do,” Bowen says his company is actively involved with black colleges and inner-city initiatives, adding that it is a socially responsible company. “Perception is everything,” says Bowen, “and Titleist is geared toward golfers, period. We target all golfers because we are in the golfing business. We have something to offer everyone.”
The tournament’s publicity also provides tremendous impetus for sponsors to participate. According to Joyce Roche, president and COO of Savannah, Georgia-based Carson Products Co.–which is responsible for Dark and Lovely hair products and the Magic Shave product line–the exposure from “an outstanding audience of influential African Americans” is an effective means of acquiring a larger consumer base. Roche’s former company, Avon Products Inc., served as a sponsor for the first Challenge. “I was initially shocked by the amount of people present at this event–I didn’t expect for it to attract the numbers it did,” says Roche. These numbers can help a company to add substantially to its bottom line.
A LITTLE R&R
Seturah Walker was among the many who came to the tournament exclusively for some sun and fun. A human resources professional with FMC Corp., a Chicago-based Fortune 500 food, machinery, chemical and defense company, Walker says the tournament “is very conducive to relaxation. It’s nice to know that all the details and accommodations will be taken care of.”
Aside from the marketing and networking aspects of the event, the B.E./Pepsi Challenge is a recreational event, providing an escape from the wear and tear of the day-to-day challenges of business. For this reason, many executives elect to bring along their families. “While the main purpose of the Challenge is to supply a social environment where business can be conducted, the tournament is also a nice vacation and a really good time,” says Johnny Graves, the tournament’s executive director.
For those who are not athletically-inclined, there are activities for every interest. One of the chief draws was the spa at the Doral, which features a broad and luxurious range of massages and treatments, as well as pools and exclusive restaurants, featuring high-quality health- oriented cuisine. For those seeking to boost their fitness routine, there was the ever-popular WalkReebok/Reebok Versa Training. The WalkReebok aerobic team lead the way on a 3-5 mile trek every morning. The Reebok Versa Training aerobics class provided more bounce for the ounce, and was geared toward those seeking a more rigorous workout.
The annual All-Sport/Reebok 3-on-3 Basketball Tournament provided an entertaining afternoon of hotly contested hoops. The team of John Rogers (CEO of Ariel Capital Management in Chicago), Brandon Bowe and David Wright won the tournament, while Renee Williams won her second consecutive AT&T Long Distance 3-point shoot-out.
There was also a host of’ exciting evening activities. Last year’s Challenge participants got a blast