SBD/Issue 87/Sponsorships, Advertising & Marketing

Farmers Insurance To Title Sponsor San Diego PGA Tour Event

The PGA Tour yesterday announced the Farmers Insurance Group has signed a one-year deal to title sponsor next week’s PGA Tour event in San Diego. Industry sources said the Tour was seeking $3-3.5M for the last-minute deal, which includes limited branding on the course and ad units during the telecast on CBS and Golf Channel. The deal was negotiated over the weekend and finalized yesterday morning. It includes a long-term option, and industry sources said the Tour plans on seeking the same $8.5M a year deal it originally put on the market last fall after Buick dropped the San Diego event in bankruptcy reorganization. Zurich Financial Services, which title sponsors the PGA Tour event in New Orleans, is the parent company of Farmers Insurance Group. Both organizations are represented by The McGriff Group, a sports marketing agency based in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida (Jon Show, SportsBusiness Journal).'s Gene Yasuda noted keeping Farmers "in the fold beyond 2010 would be a major boon for the Tour, which has several title sponsorships coming up for renewal after this season" (, 1/18).

SPEED GOLF: In San Diego, Tod Leonard notes with the sponsorship deal coming "so close to the start of the tournament," event organizers the Century Club will have to "work quickly to get the Farmers Insurance logo on as many tournament items as possible." That includes "everything from tee markers to caddie bibs." Farmers CEO Bob Woudstra yesterday noted that he was "approached by PGA Tour officials and didn't begin extensive talks about the tournament until this past weekend" (SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE, 1/19). The event will be known as the Farmers Insurance Open, but Tournament Dir Tom Wilson said that signage was "complete and officials were ready to move forward without a title sponsor," calling the event the San Diego Open. Wilson contends that there still is "plenty of time to make sure the event will run as if Farmers had been the sponsor all along" (NORTH COUNTY TIMES, 1/19).

HOW ABOUT ANOTHER ROUND? In Honolulu, Paul Arnett reports Sony's sponsorship of the PGA Tour event in Oahu expires after this year, and it "seems likely a long-term arrangement can be secured, if the price is right" for both Sony and the PGA Tour. Those negotiations should "go a little easier after last week's successful event concluded with a dramatic ... finish at the 18th." This year's field was "as strong as any since the Mercedes and Sony corporations signed five-year deals in 1998 to host the opening PGA tournaments for 1999 and beyond" (HONOLULU STAR-BULLETIN, 1/19).

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