SBD/January 19, 2011/Marketing and Sponsorship

Shark Shootout Loses Merrill Lynch As Primary Sponsor, Confident Of Replacement

Merrill Lynch had been title sponsor of Shark Shootout for five years
Merrill Lynch and parent company Bank of America have "chosen not to return as the primary sponsor for Greg Norman's Shark Shootout, but tournament officials are confident the event's 10-year run in Southwest Florida will go on," according to Seth Soffian of the Ft. Myers NEWS-PRESS. Merrill Lynch "opted not to renew for this year ... after five years as title sponsor -- the last two without its name on the event." The company could "remain involved with the unofficial PGA Tour event in a reduced capacity." Norman last month said that the event "had one leading candidate in the wings to replace Merrill Lynch if the company did not renew." Tournament Dir Taylor Ives Monday said the prospective sponsor is "definitely still in play." Ives added that conditions are "better now than they were 18-24 months ago, even as financial services companies such as Bank of America continue reducing their visibility in sports and golf sponsorship." He noted that officials with Great White Shark Enterprises "hope to have a new title sponsor in the coming months but can wait as long as the summer without jeopardizing this year's tournament." Last month's event "matched the tournament's estimated weekly attendance record in its 10 years" at Tiburon Golf Club in Naples, Fla. (Ft. Myers NEWS-PRESS, 1/18).
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