SBD/August 29, 2011/Marketing and Sponsorship

Mississippi's PGA Tour Event In Jeopardy After Viking Ends Entitlement

Viking ends its five-year sponsorship of Mississippi PGA Tour event

Viking Classic Tournament Dir Randy Watkins said Saturday that Viking Range Corp. "won't return as the title sponsor of Mississippi's PGA Tour tournament, and the state's premiere professional event has a 'small window' to find a new backer," according to Ross Dellenger of the Jackson CLARION-LEDGER. As a result, the event is "in jeopardy of losing its spot on the 2012 PGA Tour calendar if Watkins can't find a title sponsor or a consortium of sponsors by late September." Watkins said that Viking, title sponsor for the last five years, "decided last week not to sign onto a new deal." The company, which manufactures high-end kitchen appliances, “has been hit hard by the recession, laying off more than 300 workers since 2008.” Watkins said that “a title sponsor must pledge a minimum of just less than $1 million per year" for the event, which carries one of the smallest purses on Tour. Watkins said that he has “spoken to about five companies interested in being sponsors in some way,” but did not release names (Jackson CLARION-LEDGER, 8/28).

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