When companies select athletes to sponsor, they prioritize star ratings and performance. It is safe and effective for companies to catch players who have high attention and are often exposed on TV.
In that case, KB Financial Group’s move can be seen as unusual. Representative examples are Park In-bi (35) and Jeon In-ji (29). There was a time when both players could not find a sponsor at one time and wore so-called ‘min hats’ to run, but it was KB Financial that promised to sponsor them only by seeing the possibility. Since then, Inbi Park won the gold medal at the Rio Olympics and Inge Jeon won the Women’s PGA Championship.
The opportunity for KB Financial to establish a relationship with Lee Ye-won (20), who won the KLPGA Tour Lotte Rent-A-Car Women’s Open held at Lotte Skyhill Jeju in Seogwipo-si, Jeju on the 9th, was also not common. Lee Ye-won is in the second year of the regular (Part 1) tour this year, but has been wearing the KB Financial hat for the third year. This is because KB Financial signed a sponsorship contract early from 2021, when he was playing on the Dream (Part 2) Tour. In the second part of the tour, there are only a handful of players who receive ‘main sponsorship’ from financial companies.
Lee Ye-won is a player discovered through the ‘golf prospect sponsorship program’ run by KB Financial Group. She drew attention when she won the ‘2018 KB Financial Group Bae Women’s Amateur Golf Championship’ competition held by KB Finance for promising players. An official from KB Finance said, “We paid attention to Lee Ye-won’s challenging spirit, unwavering mentality, and sincerity,” and she said, “She immediately signed her main sponsor contract in 2021.”
To this end, KB Financial supported the Korea Golf Association (KGA) with a development fund of 300 million won each year, a total of 3 billion won, for 10 years from 2012 to sponsor players who no one pays attention to. An official from KB Finance said, “Brand exposure is important, but I thought it was important to build an image that prospects and companies grow together.”
The US Women’s Professional Golf (LPGA) tour caddy sponsorship program, which KB Financial started in 2020, is also considered a “successful investment case” in the sponsorship market. Since last year, KB Financial has been sponsoring around 50 caddies called ‘moving billboards’ and making them wear ‘KB Financial Group’ hats.
KB Financial is determined to continue sponsoring promising stars and ‘rising stars’ that have received less attention in the future. To this end, they recruited amateur golfers Park Ye-ji (18) and Lee Jung-hyeon (17), and recently bet on Natacritta Wongtawi Lap (21), a “thai golf star” in line with the Southeast Asian business expansion. An official from KB Financial said, “We will be a strong support to create an environment where dream golfers can focus only on sports.” 스포츠토토