SBD/April 19, 2011/Marketing and Sponsorship

PGA Tour The Heritage Will Tee Off Without A Title Sponsor

The Heritage Tournament Dir Steve Wilmot on Friday said that tournament organizers “don't expect to announce a new title sponsor before the PGA Tour event begins Thursday, although they were engaged in serious discussions with a prospective title sponsor about a month ago,” according to Josh McCann of the Hilton Head ISLAND PACKET. Wilmot said that the company was “booking hotel rooms, preparing to purchase three-quarters of the TV advertising time a sponsor typically receives on the Golf Channel and CBS, and shopping for spots in pro-am events.” But Wilmot added that the deal "fell through" in part because there was "so little time remaining before this year's tournament." PGA Tour officials have said that it is "imperative the Heritage find a sponsor to secure its long-term future." But Wilmot said that tournament organizers “do not have a deadline by which they must do so.” He “expects to host official representatives of about 12 prospective sponsors during tournament week.” PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem “will lead a bevy of tour officials who will help show companies around.” McCann noted it is “not yet clear what will happen to all the advertising time on CBS and the Golf Channel that would normally go [to] a title sponsor” (Hilton Head ISLAND PACKET, 4/18).

HOT ON THE MARKET: In Charlotte, Erik Spanberg notes ’12 PGA Championship organizers said that North Carolina-based companies “account for 20% of the corporate hospitality sales” for the event in Kiawah Island, S.C. Kiawah Island Golf Resort President Roger Warren said, “We’re 17 months out and we’ve sold 70% of our corporate hospitality.” Meanwhile, all but 6% of the general tickets “have been sold, with the rest to be made available this summer.” Organizers are “marketing across both Carolinas and limiting capacity to 27,000 fans per day, compared with crowds of 40,000 to 45,000 for other PGA sites” (CHARLOTTE BUSINESS JOURNAL, 4/15 issue).
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