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LPGA SECURES MUCH-NEEDED TITLE SPONSOR FOR FL TITLE EVENT

          The LPGA signed a three-year deal with Mercury for
     title sponsorship of the Mercury Titleholders Championship,
     April 30-May 3 in Daytona Beach, FL.  CBS will televise the
     competition live on May 2-3 (LPGA).  In Orlando, Jeff
     Babineua reports that in addition to Mercury, FL-based
     Budget Rent A Car signed as a secondary sponsor, "providing
     the tournament an important presence from the Daytona Beach
     community."  The event lacked a title sponsor since Sprint,
     which paid an "estimated" $4M for title rights in '97, opted 
     not to renew its deal, ending its eight-year involvement
     with the event.  LPGA Commissioner Jim Ritts said he was
     "not going to make a short-term decision" to find a title
     sponsor, adding, "If I had to sit out 1998, I would have
     done that."  Ritts said that there was "ample interest in
     the event," but the timing was such that several potential
     sponsors already planned their '98 budgets and could sign on
     no sooner than '99 (ORLANDO SENTINEL, 1/29).
          BILLY JACKED: Southern Company, a GA-based energy
     company, has signed an endorsement deal with PGA Tour golfer
     Billy Andrade.  Andrade will display a Southern Company logo
     on his cap and shirt sleeve during all PGA Tour events and
     related appearances, and will make several personal
     appearances on behalf of the company (Southern Company).

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Related Topics:

CBS, LPGA, PGA Tour, Sprint, Viacom

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