As the hype builds around this year's U.S. Open golf tournament—being played for the first time in the Pacific Northwest—it is likely to draw big TV audiences. So investors will be paying extra special attention to the consumer brands associated with the open.
The tournament, being held in Chambers Bay in Washington, kicks off Thursday and runs through Sunday, and will be broadcast on Fox.
Some traders believe that the exposure given to sponsors and advertisers might cause retail investors watching on TV to buy shares—or possibly withhold selling—some of the major consumer brands connected with golf in general.
Going back the past 10 years, certain stocks have actually done phenomenally well during the tournament. For this data we look at the Thursday and Friday of the tournament along with the Monday immediately after. A top stock to watch is energy firm Southern Company. It's an official PGA corporate sponsor, and it's been up in nine of the past 10 years. Even that one down year was a very minor -0.18 percent.
This analysis comes from Kensho, a market analytics and research platform. Southern has seen a p-value of 0.03 along with a strong Sharpe ratio of 1.24. The Sharpe ratio suggests strong risk-adjusted returns, and the low p-value indicates that the moves aren't random, but a consistently reliable market out-performer.
Another stock to watch is Boston Beer Company, makers of Sam Adams. The brewer said it is not an official sponsor or advertiser for the U.S. Open, but it has had strong ties to golf over the years. Boston Beer has seen its stock rise all 10 times. Its performance during this period includes a Sharpe ratio of 1.49, with a p-value of 0.03—indicating a good risk-adjusted return that is not just random. Since it was up in all 10 years, the worst three-day performance during the decade was still a gain of 0.51 percent.
Below are the full stats of the 50 securities analyzed:
Along with Southern, other PGA corporate sponsors include Coca-Cola and Tiffany, while IBM is a sponsor of the USGA. Dick's Sporting Goods and AT&T are also longstanding golf sponsors, even though they aren't specifically sponsoring this individual tournament. For AT&T and Coca-Cola, the sponsorships may be worth it - as they are two of the stocks that have been up in nine of the past ten tournaments.
Other companies that have been up in nine of 10 years include Buffalo Wild Wings and DirecTV. One fact that stands out: You might not even need to buy a specific stock. The overall market has done well on its own. The S&P 500 has been up in 7 of the 10 years, with a median return of 0.92 percent.
To be sure, it's not clear that there is any direct causal relationship here. It could just be lucky chance that these companies have done so well, a random correlation. But there is a lot of research that has gone into trying to figure this out. "U.S. sponsors with top brand value boost their abnormal stock return. Product fit enhances short-term financial performance," wrote Jin-Woo Kim while a Ph.D. student at University of Texas. Kim is now an assistant professor of marketing at Georgia Southern.
"Research results show that stock returns and volatility changed significantly during and after the sporting event compared to pre-event period," wrote Dr. George Filis of the U.K.'s University of Portsmouth. In his paper in the Journal of Promotion Management, he showed that "stock price effects caused by sports events' sponsorship programs are firm-specific, as well as sporting event-specific."
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Disclosure: NBCUniversal, parent of CNBC, is a minority investor in Kensho.