Posted by: Rolf | March 10, 2015

Caddie Bib Billboards

Caddy bibs worn at professional golf tournaments
With the PGA tour “raking” in big bucks from “advertising,” part of which comes from tour “caddies” wearing corporate “logos” on their bibs, 80 professional caddies joined in a “$50 million lawsuit” charging that they deserve some of the “spoils” for their role as unpaid “roaming” billboards.

Mike Hicks, who carried both Payne Stewart’s and Greg Norman’s bag in his day, “spearheaded” the class-action lawsuit on behalf of all “PGA tour caddies” in the United States in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.

Bib Billboards 02

The Hicks v. PGA Tour case effectively “includes” 1,000 caddies and if successful could “provide” millions of dollars in damages.

It so happens that the “Northern District” court is the same court that Ed O’Bannon successfully “sued” the NCAA for exploitation of college athletes for not “sharing” in sponsor related revenues.

Significantly, caddies often become “invisible” for fans, who understandably pay more “attention” to the tour stars.

But, caddies are “visible” on TV, making them “valuable” to the advertisers, an “important” point in Hicks v. PGA Tour.

Jonathan Hicks

Golf.com clarified the heart of “Hicks v. PGA Tour” as follows:

“Caddies are expected to wear bibs, which bear logos of companies paying the PGA Tour but not paying the caddies. These bibs are seen during television broadcasts of tournaments and are captured in photographs used in magazines and on websites. These bibs lie at the heart of Hicks v. PGA Tour. The legal question is whether caddies should be paid for wearing them.”

Specifically, the “lawsuit” contends that the “the bib” is key to marketing “sponsors” between commercials during telecasts.

Lead attorney for the caddies Eugene Egdorf asserted that “the PGA Tour and its sponsors have received literally hundreds of millions of dollars in value from endorsements from the bibs the caddies are forced to wear without any compensation whatsoever.”

Bib Billboards 04

Kevin Na’s longtime caddie Kenny Harms is one of the lead complainants in the suit.

On top of that, caddies “argue” that wearing the PGA-designated bibs is an unlawful “restraint of trade” and thus a violation of the “Sherman Antitrust Act.”

Having to wear the “PGA” bib prevents caddies from “negotiating” their own bib deals, which could result in additional “revenue” for bag carriers.

Bib Billboards 06

According to Golf.com, it is likely that the PGA will “counter” their argument saying that imposing bibs on caddies may “interfere” with caddies ability to “pedal” their own sponsors, but overall it makes the tournaments more “profitable” and thus enhances tournament product.

If the caddies are able to “advance” the trial beyond a “dismissal,” most likely the PGA tour will settle.

The end result should “fatten” the caddies’ “wallets” and probably lead to changes in “The Bib” policies moving forward.

Bib Billboards 01

See you on the first tee…

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