It’s a wonder no one has thought of this before: TaylorMade has turned one of the foul poles at the Padres’ Petco Field into a massive R11 driver. It’s 88 feet tall, and weights 950 pounds.
Natalie Gulbis was on hand for the ceremonies, and took some batting practice. Here’s what the Padres had to say:
The Padres announced Wednesday a partnership with the Carlsbad-based TaylorMade-adidas Golf Company, a unique enterprise that will be visibly present when the team begins a series against the Phillies on Thursday.
How unique and how visible?
Fans attending games at PETCO Park will see an 80-foot-high structure of TaylorMade’s new R11 driver affixed to the right-field foul pole, the first structure of its kind in the Major Leagues.
“I remember looking at the photograph thinking, ‘I don’t know how they’re going to pull this off,’” said Padres COO and team president Tom Garfinkel.
They did, though it took some work.
The two parties worked with Major League Baseball’s baseball operations team to ensure the design and installation of the R11 driver are in accordance with MLB guidelines—the foul pole is, of course, actually considered fair territory.
Also, Garfinkel said, all safety measures were taken as well to protect fans.
The structure, which is the first of its kind in Major League Baseball, weighs 950 pounds and the process of installation started on Monday and finished Wednesday with a total of 250 man hours needed to complete the project.
The redesigned foul pole will make its debut during the first game of a four-game series against the Phillies at 7:05 p.m. PT.
The shaft and grip of the R11 driver will run parallel to the existing foul pole. A 14-foot-wide by eight-foot-tall image of the R11’s white head will be displayed on the outfield wall.
“TaylorMade is a leading national brand, a thought leader based right here in San Diego,” Padres CEO and vice chairman Jeff Moorad said in a statement. “The Padres are proud to partner with yet another strong local company, and we are excited to showcase its presence at PETCO Park in such an innovative way.”
The three-year partnership between the Padres and TaylorMade will extend beyond the structure on the foul pole.
For every “drive”—when a Padres player hits a ball over the fence for a home run—TaylorMade-adidas Golf Company will donate $600 to a local charity.
“When we look at these new partnerships, we want to have an aspect of it that gives back to the community,” Garfinkel said. “We want something new for the fans … and for it to have an element of San Diego in it, to celebrate San Diego.
“We also want to build awareness for the project and accomplish the business objective.”
For the Padres, projects like this add to their continued objective of building partnerships with local companies.
The Padres have added new local partners this season that include Frazee Paint, Torrey Pines Bank and Filippi’s Pizza Grotto to a roster of previously established local partners including PETCO, Sycuan, Jack-in-the-Box, San Diego County Credit Union and several others.
“We need the support of San Diego companies, and TaylorMade is a great example of that,” Garfinkel said.
I’ve said this before, but I’ll say it again in case anyone is listening: I want to be the first teacher with a major sponsorship. Just imagine it. I’d wear Nike (or Adidas—or whomever) apparel every day, and put the company logo in the corner of every one of my powerpoint notes slides. It’s the new frontier of advertising.