SBJ/February 28 - March 6, 2005/Marketingsponsorship

Rotating signs roll into 2nd PGA Tour stop

The BellSouth Classic will add prominent rotating signs to a new 18th hole leaderboard this year, becoming just the second PGA Tour event to use the technology.

More such advancements could be in the works, according to Duke Butler, vice president for tournament business affairs for the tour, who said the tour is in “think-tank mode” about the future of informational and ad signs at events.

The scoreboard structure (drawing at bottom) will rise out of the pond next to the 18th green.
The new signs will make an already dramatic scene more so. They will be perched on the water in front of the large BellSouth skybox that rises out of the pond adjacent to the 18th green of the TPC at Sugarloaf course in Duluth, Ga. The tournament runs the week of March 28-April 3.

There will be a 10-foot-tall rotating structure on each side of the 14-by-41-foot leaderboard, each with three panels five feet wide. BellSouth has taken three of the six available positions, plus permanent signs above each of the rotating mechanisms. Tournament sponsors Georgia National Gas and EDS have one each. Event marketing director Andrew Webber said the final spot is nearly sold, to a current sponsor.

Webber declined to state the ad rate but said he is optimistic the first-year revenue from the six panels will pay for the $50,000 scoreboard expense.

Like the BellSouth skybox, the classic-styled leaderboard will be built on a permanent scaffolding that has been installed underwater. The lake is drained each spring and the skybox is built on top.

Tournaments and the tour are looking to scoreboards to generate more revenue, although representatives acknowledge the challenges of clutter and even noise. Rotating signs make noise when they rotate. Webber said the tournament is now experimenting with the rotation schedule to make sure the boards don’t distract players.

Cialis and MasterCard are sponsors of the tourwide electronic scoreboards, of which there are roughly a dozen at each PGA Tour event. The FedEx St. Jude Classic in Memphis has been using rotating signs for three years.

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