SBD/March 12, 2013/Marketing and Sponsorship

Sanderson Farms Inks One-Year Title Sponsorhip For Mississippi PGA Tour Event

The PGA Tour yesterday formally announced that Laurel, Miss.-based Sanderson Farms has agreed to title sponsor this year's event at Annandale Golf Club in Madison, Miss., in July. The former True South Classic will take the name Sanderson Farms Championship. Last year's event was operated with a consortium of local sponsors, which will remain in place for '13 (PGA Tour). Century Club Charities President John Lang, whose non-profit funds the event, said that Sanderson Farms after this year's event has "an option to then strike a three-year sponsorship agreement more typical of PGA Tour events." In Mississippi, Jeff Ayers notes the tournament's future "has been an issue, with sponsorship changes and calendar switches creating uncertainty." Mississippi-based Viking Range Corp "withdrew its sponsorship" after the '11 event, and the '12 tournament "got the go-ahead only after a consortium of sponsors was assembled and the tournament's name was changed to the True South Classic" (Jackson CLARION-LEDGER, 3/12). Sanderson Farms Chair & CEO Joe Sanderson said, "This tournament's been around for more than 40 years. I want to make sure the tournament stays in Mississippi." SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL's Michael Smith notes most of the "traditional marketing logic for title-sponsoring a PGA Tour event doesn’t really apply to Sanderson Farms, whose target audience is women age 25-65." The decision for Sanderson "was about protecting a valuable asset in his backyard." Sanderson said that the title sponsorship is "easily the largest marketing deal it has ever signed" (SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, 3/11 issue).

YOU CAN BANK ON IT: SBJ's Smith notes EverBank Financial on March 1 announced its presenting sponsorship of the PGA Tour Tampa Bay Championship, which "gave EverBank and the tournament’s organizers all of 13 days to prepare." But when the tournament begins Thursday, "caddie bibs, tee markers and TV-visible signage will carry the EverBank marks." The entrance signage, the mesh around the bleachers and "even the pin flags will all reflect EverBank’s support of the tournament." This is a one-year deal and the PGA Tour, "more than anything, wants EverBank to have a good experience and extend the relationship." Terms of the deal were not available, but presenting sponsorships "run from the low to mid-seven figures" (SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, 3/11 issue). In Tampa, Rodney Page wrote EverBank's involvement this year equates to a "test drive." Bank officials will "spend the week kicking the tires at Innisbrook while tournament officials will bend over backward to impress." A presenting sponsor turning into a title sponsor "has happened before," as Farmers Insurance did it in '10 with the tour's San Diego tournament. But if EverBank does not extend its contract, then Tampa "could be left out in the cold" (TAMPA BAY TIMES, 3/9).
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