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LPGA SECURES MUCH-NEEDED TITLE SPONSOR FOR FL TITLE EVENT
Published January 29, 1998
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).