In 1950, 13 brave women changed the face of golf, disrupting conventions and inspiring countless women athletes to take to the course. Seventy-three years later, the LPGA is one of the longest-running women’s professional sports associations in the world, and is breaking records with more than $101 million in total prize money and 33 official tournaments on the 2023 schedule.
In this same spirit, Mizuho Americas partnered with the LPGA to disrupt the status quo again, by creating the inaugural Mizuho Americas Open. Now, we know what you’re thinking – “A financial services firm sponsoring a golf tournament? Groundbreaking…” But the Mizuho Americas Open marks a departure from the typical plug-and-play sports sponsorship. We had a vision for a tournament that is a purpose-driven extension of our company values and brand, and over the course of a year and a half, we worked closely with the LPGA and other partners to make it a reality.
The goal of the Mizuho Americas Open was to create a distinctive tournament founded on our core values of equity and opportunity – an event that promotes women, celebrates excellence, and advances the next generation of talent both on and off the course. Our goals were to:
From the outset, Mizuho had a vision for a purpose-driven tournament that promotes equity and opportunity for women and supports the next generation of talent. To create a world-class tournament defined by our values, we integrated them in three primary ways:
Charitable Partnership: We partnered with Girls Inc., a nonprofit preparing underserved girls to be leaders by helping them master academic skills, practice healthy behaviors, and build positive relationships with peers and adults. Our three-year, $500,000 partnership will enable Girls Inc. to make resources more accessible to its network of 76 affiliates throughout the United States and Canada. As a result, Girls Inc. anticipates it will equip thousands of girls with leadership skills over the grant period.
Unique Tournament Format: The Mizuho Americas Open features a groundbreaking format, with 24 American Junior Golf Association (AJGA) female players and 120 LPGA pros competing side-by-side in two separate tournaments. This first-time partnership between the AJGA and LPGA is part of an unprecedented week of education and access to inspire the next generation of professional golf, and gives viewers the chance to watch the best golfers in the world play alongside the future of the sport.
Superior Player Experience: Did you know that most professional women golfers have to pay for their own travel and lodging at tournaments? It can be a costly and stressful burden, especially for those outside the top rankings or new to the Tour. To help level the playing field, Mizuho provided the rare perk of complimentary, five-star lodging for every tournament player, and free ferry service directly to the clubhouse steps at Liberty National (with a spectacular view of the Statue of Liberty along the way). To top it off, Mizuho Americas offered one of the largest, non-Major Championship purses on the LPGA Tour, further demonstrating our commitment to the players.
Of course, we wanted to build hype around the event, and we did that in a number of ways: we produced an inspiring launch video; created a concurrent brand campaign across broadcast, digital, and social platforms; held media days where the press could play Liberty National golf course, home to several PGA tournaments but never an LPGA event; developed luxury VIP experiences; invited youth from Girls Inc. to meet Michelle Wie West and learn more about the sport; and so much more.
For a tournament spotlighting the next generation of talent, we couldn’t have scripted a better outcome. Rose Zhang, a former amateur star making her professional debut, won in a nail-biting, sudden-death playoff, making her the first woman to win her LPGA debut since 1951. And for the first time, a pro was crowned champion alongside a junior player, as part of the concurrent AJGA tournament.
With 30,000+ spectators lining the fairways and rave reviews about the player-friendly experience, the inaugural Mizuho Americas Open was a resounding success. Off the course, Girls Inc. is piloting new leadership programs as a result of our partnership, and expects to reach 47,000+ girls during the grant period.
The tournament also garnered impressive viewership and engagement. It helped spur big gains on social media for the LPGA, and ranked in the top three for social value (a dollar figure generated by a combination of number of impressions and engagements).
LPGA Reach: TV, Streaming, Digital and Social
PR and Other Stats: