SBD/Issue 129/Events & Attractions

ESPN Exec Says Major Changes Needed For Skins Game To Survive

Tournament Must Secure A New
Title Sponsor To Continue
ESPN VP/New Business Tony Renaud said that "major changes must be made to the Skins Game if it hopes to survive," and that the '09 event "might not be played unless changes are made," according to Larry Bohannan of the Palm Springs DESERT SUN. Renaud: "I believe it is dead in its old form. We cannot continue in the same manner. We cannot keep the purse that low. We have got to be able to compete with Dubai and whatever. We've got to get some changes from the tour." Bohannan noted the "made-for-television Skins Game has been dogged by low ratings and waning interest in recent years," as ABC's Sunday broadcast of the event last year drew a 1.2 rating and about 1.3 million viewers. Ratings "hovered between 5.0 and 7.0 ... in the event's heyday." Renaud's plan to overhaul the event includes "finding a new title sponsor to replace the departed" LG Electronics, and he "believes playing the 2009 event depends mostly on acquiring a new title sponsor." Renaud: "That's the key. That's the first domino that has to go." Renaud noted that he is "talking to three sponsors interested in the event." Other elements of Renaud's plan to overhaul the event include "convincing the PGA Tour to relax eligibility standards for the event's four-player field," as well as a "doubling of the purse to at least" $2M. Bohannan noted if a new sponsor is "found for 2009 and beyond, the next step might be finding a new home for 2010." Indian Wells is "in the final year of a three-year deal to host the event," and City Manager Greg Johnson said that the Skins Game "hasn't provided the exposure the city hoped when it agreed to sponsor the event" in '07. Johnson: "I would say that IMG, ESPN and the PGA Tour have not delivered on the television ratings for the amount of money they are asking to be a host sponsor. Unless they are able to change that and show they are able to deliver a product that is worthy of the host sponsor fees they are requiring, I don't believe it would be appropriate to continue" (Palm Springs DESERT SUN, 3/21). Renaud said that he will "talk to tour officials this ... week in Florida, trying to convince them to help ESPN produce a better television show" (Palm Springs DESERT SUN, 3/22).

Return to top

Related Topics:

Events and Attractions

Video Powered By - Castfire CMS Powered By - Sitecore

Report a Bug