Grant Thornton is building on its two-year-old sports marketing push with three new sponsorships in professional golf.

The professional services firm in 2018 will kick off a dual five-year partnership with the PGA Tour: one as proud partner of The Players Championship, and a second agreement as official marketing partner of the PGA Tour.

Grant Thornton will replace PricewaterhouseCoopers as the PGA Tour’s official professional services firm, whose contract expires at the end of the year.

In addition, Grant Thornton has secured a separate agreement with professional golfer Rickie Fowler, who will wear the company’s logo in all PGA Tour affiliated tournaments, including all major golf championships.

The PGA Tour and Players Championship partnerships will provide Grant Thornton with premier positioning during the Players telecast on the Golf Channel and NBC, a broad presence on the course and multiple hospitality venues.

The nation’s fifth-largest public accounting firm will use the sponsorships to support its positioning as a challenger brand to the Big Four accounting firms (Deloitte, EY, PricewaterhouseCoopers and KPMG). Grant Thornton earlier this year launched a marketing campaign dubbed “Status Go” that highlights how it helps clients break free from the status quo to move forward.

The company will feature Fowler in a national advertising campaign in 2018.

“Rickie is the future of golf. He is a perfect brand ambassador for a challenger brand that is thinking about the future,” said Carol Tarver, Grant Thornton head of sponsorship marketing.

Grant Thornton launched its sports marketing push in 2015 following Tarver’s arrival at the company. Prior to her arrival, the company primarily secured hospitality at golf tournaments and other sporting events.

“We were radio silent in the market for a number of years. When I came on board there was a keen interest to reenter the market and tell the Grant Thornton story.”

Since her arrival, Tarver has signed deals with a handful of pro sports teams. Ties include six MLB teams (Chicago Cubs, Boston Red Sox, Texas Rangers, Oakland Athletics, Miami Marlins and the Washington Nationals), two NBA teams (Charlotte Hornets and the New Jersey Nets) and one NHL team (New York Islanders).

In addition, Grant Thornton is in its third year as the official accounting services partner of the Tony Awards. The company activated the 2017 Tony Awards with the #SupportingCast Challenge, around which it made a donation to The American Theatre Wing and Broadway League Foundation for every #SupportingCast tweet and Instagram post shared throughout the Tony Awards season.

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