OCEAN CITY – The resort area’s golf community nearly lost a regional marketing tool when Endless Golf promoter, producer and on-air talent Bobby Vermillion almost pulled up stakes and moved his operation south, but a late partnership forged with a local marketing group will keep the prolific cable program grounded in Ocean City.
For nearly two decades, Vermillion has introduced millions of golfers to Ocean City courses and all the resort has to offer through a couple of local and regional cable television programs. The Resort Golf Guide is strictly local and is aired in the area by local cable providers. However, Vermillion’s other venture, Endless Golf, a half-hour television show sponsored for years by heavyweights Toyota and Geico, is far reaching and is aired in markets up and down the East Coast including most of the larger metropolitan areas.
The town of Ocean City sponsored the program for 18 years before ending its official relationship with the show this summer over budget concerns, but a significant golf marketing outfit in the region, Ocean City Golf Getaway, stepped up and filled the sponsorship void for several months. However, when Ocean City Golf Getaway recently ended its sponsorship of Endless Golf, Vermillion was left without a local sponsor and was prepared to move his operation and the program’s main feature to Myrtle Beach, S.C., one of Ocean City’s top rivals in the highly competitive golf package market.
“Ocean City dropped its sponsorship in July and Ocean City Golf Getaway stepped in, but they bailed out recently and I seriously considered moving the show to Myrtle Beach,” said Vermillion this week. “I had already been doing some business with Myrtle Beach and I had an opportunity there, but I really wanted to stay here in Ocean City where I live and where this all started.”
However, before Endless Golf pulled up stakes and left the area, another major player in the golf packaging market in the Ocean City area stepped in and filled the void when Pam’s Golf decided to partner with Vermillion to keep the show in Ocean City. The strategic partnership will allow Endless Golf to continue to focus its efforts promoting Ocean City area golf courses, hotels and restaurants throughout the northeast and mid-Atlantic, while bringing tremendous value to Pam’s Golf and its marketing partners.
With the new partnership, Endless Golf will continue to promote Ocean City as a destination in major markets including Baltimore, Washington, New York and Pittsburgh, for example. The new partnership will also allow Endless Golf to be aired on Comcast Sports Network, the Mid-Atlantic Sports Network (MASN), Comcast Golf Destinations on Demand and a wide variety of Internet-based outlets. With the variety of cable and Internet outlets, Endless Golf will extend its reach to over 10 million households looking to book “stay and play” packages in Ocean City.
“This allows us not only to continue what we already do, but really extend our reach up and down the East Coast,” said Vermillion this week. “I really wanted to stay in Ocean City and continue to promote the area, but I had tough choices to make. I’ve had Toyota and Geico as my sponsor for 20 years and 10 years, respectively, and I could pick and choose where I wanted to go, but I really wanted to stay right here.”
For his part, Pam’s Golf President Hunt Crosby is excited about the new partnership.
“We believe that it would have been a big blow both to Ocean City tourism and particularly to area golf courses to lose this program to another destination,” he said. “We are thrilled at the opportunities this partnership will open up for the businesses we promote as well as how perfectly it meshes with our mission to bring more golfers to Ocean City.”