ZTE turns to golf to help it flog smartphones

ZTE has signed a three-year marketing agreement to become the PGA Tour’s first ever ‘official smartphone’.

The Chinese vendor is presumably hoping for a bit of US smartphone credibility by associating itself with the country’s professional golf tour. Not only will it get to impose its marketing collateral on golf fans at select events, it will also preload certain phones with the PGA Tour Live app and subscription service, including a 30-day free trial of golfing goodies such as exclusive early-round coverage.

“Becoming the first official Smartphone of the PGA Tour is a historic moment for ZTE,” ZTE Mobile Devices CEO Lixin Cheng. “The Tour, with its prestigious brand and global fan base, brings a tremendous opportunity for ZTE to connect directly with golf fans around the world and demonstrate our prowess in mobile technology with our premium line of Axon smartphones.”

“The PGA Tour is delighted to introduce ZTE as a new marketing partner as we enter the smartphone category for the first time,” said Brian Oliver, PGA Tour SVP of Sponsorship & Partnership. “Mobile devices have become such a critical means by which fans watch and get updates on our competition, find information about their favourite players and share PGA Tour-related content. In ZTE, we are partnering with a global leader in the telecommunications industry.”

Sports sponsorship is a well-trodden path for brands looking for a credibility and awareness boost and sports don’t come any safer or affluent than golf. What ZTE smartphone customers will make of having golf-related bloatware imposed upon them, however, remains to be seen.

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