SBD/Issue 156/Sponsorships, Advertising & Marketing

Wells Fargo Keeps Sponsorship Of Charlotte PGA Tour Event Quiet

Wells Fargo's Contract With The PGA Tour Calls
For Bank To Maintain Sponsorship Through '14

Wells Fargo for the second straight year is spending about $7M as the top sponsor of Charlotte's PGA Tour stop and "working hard to minimize that fact" at this week's tournament, according to Erik Spanberg of the CHARLOTTE BUSINESS JOURNAL. Wells Fargo is "writing the biggest check as the lead sponsor, but fans and TV viewers instead will hear announcers trumpet only the host club’s name at the Quail Hollow Championship." The bank inherited the title sponsorship when it acquired Wachovia in '08, and terms of the PGA Tour agreement "call for the bank to maintain the same financial commitment through 2014." Wells Fargo last year elected to remove its name from the tournament after receiving TARP money, and Wells Fargo Chair, President & CEO John Stumpf said that "any decision on whether to put the bank’s name on the tournament, as a presenting sponsor or otherwise, lies with the company’s East Coast leadership." Quail Hollow Club President Johnny Harris indicated that tournament organizers are "open to discussing potential name changes with bank executives." Spanberg notes the bank has offered "few details of how it will use the tournament this year." Wells Fargo Enterprise Marketing Communications Manager Matthew Wadley said, "There won't be any large-scale off-course events. It's pretty conservative" (CHARLOTTE BUSINESS JOURNAL, 4/23 issue). Meanwhile, Harris said corporate sponsorship for this week's tournament is "down slightly." Harris: "We were scared we would be down 25% or 30% or 40% or something of that nature. We’re going to be down just slightly." He added the tournament is down "probably more like 5%" on the corporate hospitality side (CHARLOTTE BUSINESS JOURNAL, 4/23 issue).

FIT FOR A QUEEN: In Charlotte, Ron Green Jr. noted at a "time when professional golf has occasionally struggled to keep sponsors, maintain television ratings and sustain its momentum, the Quail Hollow Championship has retained its place among the top events on the PGA Tour." The venue and the date "have been critical to the success." PGA Tour Exec VP/Communications & Int'l Affairs Ty Votaw: "From day one, they've had a focus on making sure everything they did and were associated with was quality driven" (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 4/26). Meanwhile, author John Feinstein said he believes Quail Hollow Club "can be a major championship venue. " Feinstein: "The players love the place, that is why they get the field they get every year" ("Golf Central," Golf Channel, 4/26).

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