SBD/November 15, 2012/Marketing and Sponsorship

Alabama LPGA Event In Jeopardy As Navistar Pulls Title Sponsorship

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LPGA's Prattville, Ala., tournament costs about $3.5-4M annually
The continuation of the LPGA tournament at the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail in Prattville, Ala., is “in jeopardy after Navistar, the event’s title sponsor the last six years, withdrew from the event,” according to Brad Zimanek of the MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER. The golf tournament has been held on the Senator Course at the RTJ Capitol Hill facility “from 2007-2012.” LPGA Chief Communications Officer Kraig Kann said that the tour is “working on continuing the event” in the area for next year. The SunBelt Golf Corp. and the Robert Trent Golf Trail “is in search of a new event sponsor.” When asked what the deadline would be to have a title sponsor for an event to be played in ’13, SunBelt Golf Corp. President John Cannon said, “You would get a different answer from several people depending on who you asked.” Cannon: “In an ideal world, the LPGA would like some answers now.” The LPGA “traditionally announces its partial or full event schedule for the upcoming year in November.” SunBelt Golf Corporation Business Development Dir Jonathan Romeo said that the event “costs about $3.5 to $4 million annually” (MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER, 11/14).

SUNNY-SIDE UP: In Florida, Craig Handel noted the LPGA season finale CME Group Titleholders “has accomplished what it wanted the past two years,” and that is to “create a buzz.” CME officials “wanted the event” in Fort Myers because there is a “CME leadership conference in Naples this week.” LPGA Commissioner Mike Whan said, “We booked it for Orlando in 2011.” But Whan said CME Exec Chair Terry Duffy “said, ‘I want to bring it to my place in Naples. This is where we really want to be.’ So we brought it here this year” (Ft. Myers NEWS-PRESS, 11/13). Also in Florida, Greg Hardwig notes since the former Futures Tour became the Symetra Tour a year ago, the “title sponsor, a financial services company in Bellevue, Wash., has increased its role.” The Symetra name will “be added to the season-ending Tour Championship in Daytona Beach, and that event will go from a three-round to a four-round tournament.” The company “already had the naming rights of a tour event in Charlotte.” Symetra also will “offer two players from the tour who earn their LPGA Tour cards … $25,000 endorsement deals” (NAPLES DAILY NEWS, 11/15).
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