Exxon Mobil Ends Masters Tournament Sponsorship as UPS Signs on

Exxon Mobil Corp. is ending its top-level sponsorship of the Masters Tournament, while United Parcel Service Inc. joins the partner rolls of golf’s first annual major championship.

Daimler AG’s Mercedes-Benz, an international sponsor of the Masters since 2008, will move up to replace Exxon Mobil as one of three global sponsors of the tournament, joining International Business Machines Inc. and AT&T Inc.

UPS, the world’s largest package-delivery company, will take over Mercedes-Benz’s previous role and join Rolex as international sponsors.

Exxon spokesman Alan T. Jeffers said the company was leaving “after nine successful years” as it “continually evaluates and modifies our sponsorship and advertising requirements based on business needs.”

Billy Payne, executive director of Augusta National Golf Club, which stages the tournament each April in Augusta, Georgia, didn’t disclose a reason for Exxon Mobil’s departure in a press release announcing the new sponsorships.

Exxon Mobil joined the Masters for the 2005 tournament after the club went without sponsors in 2003 and 2004 to protect its corporate partners from protests against Augusta National’s then-all-male membership.

Terms of the latest agreements weren’t disclosed.

A Masters sponsorship is among the most exclusive in sports, as the tournament limits television commercials to four minutes per hour. As part of the agreements, sponsors are given access to private hospitality cabins built along the course’s first and 10th holes.

UPS’s sponsorship comes four days after the Atlanta-based company and the Teamsters union agreed on a five-year contract covering 250,000 employees. A two-week Teamsters strike in 1997 cut UPS’s volumes as much as 6 percent and cost about $650 million.

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