SBD/Issue 192/Events & Attractions

Wegmans LPGA Event's Return After This Season In Doubt

Whether the Wegmans LPGA event, which takes place this week at Locust Hill CC in New York, will be coming back for a 34th year in '10 is a question that "no one ... can answer right now," according to Sal Maiorana of the Rochester DEMOCRAT & CHRONICLE. While LPGA Commissioner Carolyn Bivens has said contract talks are "productive and moving forward," the "cost of doing business with the LPGA is rising, and there is a palpable fear that smaller markets such as Rochester could get priced out of the LPGA, which is what happened" to the Corning Classic. Wegmans, a regional supermarket chain, is "responsible for the bulk of the tournament costs," though it "gets some help in the form of corporate support, ticket sales and merchandise sales." But thanks to the "continually sagging economy that has created sponsorship problems in all sports, some of that support has dwindled and [Wegmans] is stretched to the limit in its effort to make money for the tournament's new benefiting charity, Graduation is the Goal." While talks about the tournament's future "have been scarce," Bivens "expressed confidence that despite the economy the LPGA and Wegmans will find a way to make things work for both sides and Rochester will continue on as one of the tour's longest-running tournaments." Still, LPGA players are "rightfully nervous about losing tournaments due to sponsorship withdrawals," despite "exuding unwavering confidence in Bivens that her branding plan is going to lift the LPGA to new heights" (Rochester DEMOCRAT & CHRONICLE, 6/23).

TIME TO WORK THINGS OUT: In Rochester, Bob Matthews writes it "would be a mistake" not to renew the tournament. Matthews: "The mere thought that the LPGA Tour is outgrowing Rochester is ridiculous, particularly in the current economic climate. Maybe the LPGA Tour should think about making concessions instead of increasing demands. I believe the LPGA Tour needs Rochester more than Rochester needs the LPGA Tour" (Rochester DEMOCRAT & CHRONICLE, 6/24).

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