SBD/Issue 151/Events & Attractions

PGA Tour Event Seeks Sponsor After Verizon Declines To Renew

PGA Tour Event Has Yet To Find A
Replacement Title Sponsor For Verizon

The '10 PGA Tour Verizon Heritage, which concluded Sunday, marked the "end of contracts with the PGA Tour, Sea Pines Resort and title sponsor Verizon Business," but while the PGA Tour and Sea Pines are "expected to agree to new deals as soon as possible," the event has yet to find a replacement title sponsor, according to Nathan Dominitz of the SAVANNAH MORNING NEWS. The "search has been on since September for a replacement" for Verizon, and the "hope was one would be found before this week." Verizon had been the "main sponsor covering" the tournament's annual overhead of $7-8M, and the Heritage Classic Foundation "has pledged, if need be, to cover costs for 2011." Golfer Brian Gay: "It's one of the best tournaments on tour, so I think somebody will come through" (SAVANNAH MORNING NEWS, 4/19). In South Carolina, Cassie Foss noted Tournament Dir Steve Wilmot and other officials "put out the call to the community that has supported the event since it was first staged Thanksgiving weekend of 1969." Wilmot: "The tournament is so important to the community and the state, and we're going to do everything we can to keep it here." Jim Furyk, who won this year's event, is "one of the top 10 players in the world," and Wilmot said, "Hopefully a new sponsor will wrap their arms around that. There's been a lot of interest and we're going to keep the momentum going" (Hilton Head ISLAND PACKET, 4/19).

OFFERING THEIR HELP: In Augusta, John Boyette noted the South Carolina Legislature "voted in March to provide a $10[M] loan for the tournament next year -- the money would come out of the state's insurance reserve fund -- but PGA Tour officials say that won't be necessary." PGA Tour Exec VP & COO Rick George: "It's very much appreciated, but I don't think we will need that. I don't want to go in that direction; we think the business center is the right way to address the title sponsorship of this event. That's what we intend to do." Golfer Davis Love III: "It's just such an iconic tournament. If we didn't have such a bad economy, it would be one people would be standing in line for." Golfer Charles Howell III said of the event, "I think everyone is paying attention to what happens here. I don't think there's anyone that doesn't want this tournament to be kept" (AUGUSTA CHRONICLE, 4/17).

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