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Volume 24 No. 156
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Hilton Head To Buy TV Ad Time As Part Of RBC, Boeing's The Heritage Sponsorship

The Hilton Head Island Town Council voted 6-0 Thursday to "approve a five-year, $3.2 million deal to buy TV advertising spots" in an effort to help secure RBC's and Boeing's sponsorships of the PGA Tour's Heritage, according to Tom Barton of the Hilton Head ISLAND PACKET. The deal will see Hilton Head "pay $562,500 the first year, with a 5-percent increase per year in the following years, for eight of the 64 ad spots split between CBS and The Golf Channel that normally go to a title sponsor." Boeing will be a secondary sponsor of the event, and Heritage Classic Foundation Chair Simon Fraser said that money from RBC and Boeing "alone would have left the tournament with an annual shortage of $1.2 million to $1.3 million as it tried to meet expenses and its obligations to the PGA Tour, which include the ad buy." But Fraser said that organizers "were able to find more than $600,000 in cost savings and needed the town to cover most of the rest." Hilton Head Mayor Drew Laughlin said that it is "uncertain how the town would pay for the proposed ad-buy," though he "favors using a mix of accommodations and hospitality taxes." Laughlin and tournament organizers added that officials from the nearby town of Bluffton, S.C., have "indicated their willingness to pay one-tenth of the town ad-buy" (Hilton Head ISLAND PACKET, 6/17).

GLAD THINGS WORKED OUT: PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem Thursday said that Tour officials "considered merging the Heritage with another tournament or bringing the Champions Tour to Hilton Head if no new sponsor emerged." He added that the Tour was "eager to return to Hilton Head in some fashion." Finchem: "Maybe I wouldn't have said this two weeks ago, but we were not planning to leave." Finchem noted that Tour officials "plan to return the tournament to its regular spot on the calendar, at least for now." The Heritage, "traditionally played the week after the Masters in August, was moved a week later than usual this year" (Hilton Head ISLAND PACKET, 6/17). In Charlotte, Ron Green Jr. notes by "bringing Boeing in as a presenting sponsor, the tournament will be tied in with the aerospace company that will be building planes near" Charleston, S.C. (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 6/17).

: In San Antonio, Richard Oliver reports Valero is continuing talks with the Texas Open and PGA Tour officials "about extending its decade-long relationship with the $6.1 million tournament past 2012, the final year of its current deal." The PGA Tour Thursday confirmed that the Valero Texas Open "will land in its fourth different slot on the schedule in a five-year span." The tournament "has been set for April 19-22 at AT&T Oaks Course, a week later than this year's event," which was played a week after The Masters and "attracted a solid if unspectacular field." Valero Dir of Corporate Communications Bill Day said, "As far as positioning against other tournaments, it remains to be seen how this will affect the playing field, but we look for a good time of year to bring our clients in. Whether it's a player issue, I don't know, but it didn't bother the sponsors or spectators, as far as we know" (SAN ANTONIO EXPRESS-NEWS, 6/17).