SBD/September 18, 2013/Marketing and Sponsorship

Travelers Receives Extension To Negotiate Title Sponsorship Of Hartford PGA Tour Stop

Travelers wants to remain in its current dates the week following the U.S. Open
Travelers Insurance has "received an extension past September from the PGA Tour to negotiate an extension of its title sponsorship" of the annual Hartford tournament, according to Joe Morelli of the NEW HAVEN REGISTER. Title sponsorship extensions beyond the '13-14 PGA Tour season "were supposed to be wrapped up by month’s end." Travelers Championship Exec VP & Chief Administrative Officer Andy Bessette said that the company "wants to remain in its current dates the week following the U.S. Open in June." But "of concern" are the '16 Rio Games, when golf "will be an Olympic sport for the first time since 1904." Bessette plans to meet with Tour officials today at the Tour Championship in Atlanta. Travelers Championship Tournament Dir Nathan Grube also will "be there to visit with the 30 players in the field." Bessette in June said that the new extension "could be in the two- to four-year range." He "declined to speak specifics on that Monday, but did say he and the tour want this deal done before the end of the calendar year" (NEW HAVEN REGISTER, 9/17). Bessette said that there are "questions how Olympic teams will be selected." In Hartford, Tom Yantz reports should qualifying tournaments be held the "same week as the Travelers Championship, it could affect the field in Cromwell." Bessette said of the contract talks, "'Negotiation' is the wrong word. It's not all negotiations. It's fact finding." Yantz notes in addition to "questions about the Olympic golf selection process, there is contract language concerning digital and social media and their impact on Travelers Companies Inc., an official marketing partner of the tour." Travelers has been the tournament sponsor since '07 (COURANT.com, 9/17).

CLOSE IN CHARLOTTE: In Charlotte, Erik Spanberg reports Wells Fargo has yet to announce its "expected sponsorship extension" of the annual Tour stop in Charlotte, but Quail Hollow Golf Club President Johnny Harris "likes his chances." The current contracts between the PGA Tour, the golf course and Wells Fargo "all end after the 2014 tournament." However, Harris said, "Things are fairly close. We're working this thing out" (BIZJOURNALS.com, 9/18). 

LEFT HANGING: GOLFWEEK's Schupak & Miceli note Valspar's four-year title sponsorship agreement for the PGA Tour stop in Tampa "left Puerto Rico holding yet another consolation prize from the PGA Tour." Puerto Rico Open Tournament Dir Sidney Wolf said the event "was prepared to do something big" to land an unencumbered spot on the Tour calendar. But Wolf now is "weighing his event's options, which could include the European Tour, when the contract expires" in '14. Wolf: "I'd love to stay with the (PGA) Tour, but they have nothing for us. They never gave us an option" (GOLFWEEK, 9/20 issue).
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