Wednesday 21 August 2019

'Commercially, this puts him on another level' - How Shane Lowry could 'triple' his income after Open win

Shane Lowry could potentially triple his off-course income after winning the Open Championship. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile
Shane Lowry could potentially triple his off-course income after winning the Open Championship. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

Joanne O'Sullivan

After securing his first Major title at the Open Championship, Shane Lowry is set for a huge career boost. Joanne O'Sullivan from Teneo takes a look at what could be in store financially for the Offaly golfer after his big win.

Commercially, this win puts Shane Lowry on another level entirely. Going into The Open, Lowry was 67th in the FedEx standings and No.33 in the world. After his win in Portrush, he has shot up to 17th in the world rankings, the highest he has ever been and guaranteeing him invites to the top golf events for the rest of 2019 and beyond.

Since turning professional in 2009, Lowry has earned €14 million on the European Tour alone. The prize money for winning the Open is a staggering €1.7m/$1.935m. Sports endorsement contracts are typically structured to include bonus fees for certain milestones or achievements, so winning his first Major should unlock a host of bonus payments from his existing sponsors as well as earning him longer term commitments.

But it is the list of bonuses and exemptions that come with the Claret Jug that is of long-term value and will have Lowry’s team rubbing their hands in anticipation. He has a playing exemption at The Open until he turns 60, a PGA Tour exemption for the next five years, European Tour exemption for the next 10 years and an invitation to the next five Masters, US PGA, US Open and Players' Championship tournaments.

With that tour diary comes more exposure for Lowry and creates more opportunity for sponsors, making him a very attractive prospect. Plus, he has off-course attributes sponsors love – likability and a devoted family man. Shane is one of the most popular individuals in Irish sport and being associated with him will create a very positive impact for the right brand.

Shane already has an impressive stable of sponsors including Bank of Ireland, Kingspan and Immedis – all of which are Irish-based. His equipment sponsor is Srixon/Cleveland Golf. As a Major winner, Shane’s value to global brands is now at an all-time high and it will be interesting to see if he expands his sponsor-base beyond Ireland and attracts US and UK based-partners as he moves from being a much-loved Irish sports star to an internationally recognised star.

As an Open champion and one with such obvious public appeal, he is now in a strong position to sign up to new endorsements and sponsorship deals. In addition, he will command top tier fees for speaking events, golf days and appearances, which has the potential to be very lucrative. It is entirely feasible that Shane could treble his income from sponsorship and endorsements over the next 12 months, and who would begrudge him?

Beyond Shane’s success, this has been superb couple of weeks for Irish golf. Ireland is famous for having a third of the world's links courses and now that the world’s media has experienced it for themselves, golf tourism should be reaping the rewards for years to come. The incredible combination of a successful Irish Open in Lahinch, followed by the first British Open hosted in Ireland in 68 years, won by an Irishman to boot, has firmly positioned Ireland as a golfer’s paradise.

According to the Teneo Sport and Sponsorship Index 2018, golf is Ireland’s fourth favourite sport after Gaelic Games, soccer and rugby. But there has always been a challenge in attracting younger fans and keeping the game relevant to those with short attention spans and with ever-changing media formats. The ripple effect of Shane Lowry bringing the Claret Jug home to Clara, Co. Offaly might just inspire a whole new generation of Lowrys, McIlroys, McDowells and Harringtons.

One thing that is certain is that Shane has moved into a whole new earning category and he will reap the rewards of being a Major winner for many, many years to come.

Joanne O’Sullivan is a Director on the Sport and Sponsorship Team at Teneo

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