SBD/January 23, 2014/Leagues and Governing Bodies

PGA Tour Hits $2B Milestone In All-Time Charitable Giving, Exceeded $133M In '13

Many events are non-profit organizations that donate proceeds to charity
The PGA Tour yesterday announced that it has surpassed $2B in all-time charitable giving. The Tour and its more than 100 tournaments achieved the milestone just over eight years after reaching $1B in October '05. Annual contributions have increased steadily over the years, with '13 exceeding $133M (PGA Tour). In Jacksonville, Garry Smits notes the $2B figure is "larger than all other charitable donations made by other major professional sports combined." It was announced last fall that The Players Championship "raised a record" $7.1M, beating the '12 record of $6.5M. Yesterday's announcement was "relatively low-key," with Commissioner Tim Finchem’s news conference "coinciding with a news release." There were "no banners unfurled, no parties and no cocktail receptions." Finchem said, “The $2 billion number is just a number, it’s just a point in the road" (FLORIDA TIMES-UNION, 1/23). USA TODAY's Steve DiMeglio notes the "vast majority of the Tour's more than 100 events are non-profit organizations that donate to more than 2,000 organizations, including hospitals, youth programs and food banks." The HP Byron Nelson Championship and AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am "each have exceeded" $100M in giving. Finchem: "Our players have endorsed the idea of leaving behind a significant amount of money in the communities" (USA TODAY, 1/23). 

MISSING THE POINT? GOLF DIGEST's Geoff Shackelford noted an ESPN "Outside The Lines" report recently "took issue" with more than $200M in "federal tax breaks the PGA Tour has received over the last 20 years." Finchem, speaking to the media yesterday before the Farmers Insurance Open, "called the report 'confusing' and explained where ESPN misfired." Finchem said, "If you're an organization, you file and you become a (c)(3) and you're going to raise money for cancer research and you go out and solicit money and an inordinate amount of your money goes to pay the cost of your operations, you're not going to be too successful with givers, and that's the way it should be." He added, "To equate that to a major sporting event where there's a partnership that comes together and says let's work together for the benefit of the community, we're going to put on this tournament, it costs a lot of money, but there's significant upside to the community in generating money for charity, that's a whole different kettle of fish" (GOLFDIGEST.com, 1/22).
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