SBD/July 10, 2014/Marketing and Sponsorship

Barracuda Networks To Title Sponsor PGA Tour Reno-Tahoe Open In Four-Year Deal

Barracuda becomes the third title sponsor in the history of the event
The PGA Tour and the Reno-Tahoe Open yesterday announced a four-year deal with Barracuda Networks to title sponsor the July 31-Aug. 3 event at the Montreux Golf & Country Club. The newly named Barracuda Championship is the Tour's only tournament to use the Modified Stableford scoring system, in which players accumulate points rather than playing to par (PGA Tour). In Reno, Dan Hinxman in a front-page piece notes the value of the contract "was not made available" during a news conference yesterday, but tournament Exec Dir Chris Hoff said that it was in the $1M range. Hoff: "I think the important thing to note here is the investment is significant and it's for at least four years." He added that because of the "timing of the announcement there would still be some 'Reno-Tahoe Open' signage this year." Barracuda becomes just the "third title sponsor in tournament history," as it has "carried on for 12 of its first 15 years without a title sponsor." Some PGA Tour events have title sponsors that contribute $5M "or more per year." But as an "encumbered event (held the same week as the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational), the Barracuda Championship doesn't have the game's top players and because of that its title-sponsor value is significantly less." However, a title-sponsor investment could "help the Barracuda Championship to increase its prize money." At $3M, it has the "lowest purse" on Tour. Hoff said that there has been "talk about possibly raising the purse, but it wouldn't happen" until '15 at the earliest. The deal also might "allow the tournament become fully self-sufficient." The Tour "often subsidizes" 15% of start-up tournaments "for a short period." But the Barracuda Championship, which has doled out nearly $3M to "local charities since its inception" in '99, has been "subsidized nearly every year" (RENO GAZETTE-JOURNAL, 7/10). The AP's Scott Sonner noted Hoff "acknowledged there was some reluctance to relinquish 'Reno-Tahoe' as part of the name of the tournament." Hoff: "It's kind of a necessary evil. The TV coverage isn't going to change. You still are going to see the beauty of Montreux, they still are going to show shots of Lake Tahoe and downtown Reno" (AP, 7/9).
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