Organizers of the LPGA Classic in Springfield, Ill. “may try to line up a group of Springfield-area businesses as interim sponsors for 2012” after State Farm dropped its title sponsorship this year, according to Dave Kane of the Springfield STATE JOURNAL-REGISTER. Tournament Exec Dir Kate Peters said that the “ultimate goal is still to find one or two major sponsors willing to put up about $2.3 million to keep the 36-year-old event in Springfield.” But Peters said that “short of making such a breakthrough in the next few months ... the alternative is to assemble a consortium of local sponsors.” The arrangement “would buy time to find major sponsors for 2013 and beyond.” Peters: "We're looking at a model of five to 10 (local businesses). We know the dollars we need, and however we divvy it up. … Let's say we call it the Heart of Illinois LPGA Classic. We're looking into companies who'll buy into that. We're looking for a hero -- or heroes." Peters said that $2M is the “minimum amount needed to keep the Classic alive for 2012.” But she added that the figure “probably would mean ‘tweaks in our budget,’ including a decrease in the $1.7 million purse that's been offered the past three years.” LPGA Commissioner Mike Whan “has raised the possibility of a one-year hiatus for the Classic,” but Peters “doubts there will be a 2013 tournament if one isn’t held in 2012.” Peters: "I have trouble seeing it come back if we miss next year" (Springfield STATE JOURNAL-REGISTER, 9/23).
Marketing and Sponsorship
General Motors has created “a road show called the ‘GMC Monday Night Football Tour’ that targets important game markets the weekend before games, and gets a media boost from NFL players themselves,” according to Karl Greenberg of MEDIAPOST.com. The tour will “visit Dallas, Tampa Bay, Detroit, New York City, Kansas City, Philadelphia, Boston, New Orleans and Seattle," and will feature appearances by "current and former NFL players including Miles Austin, DeSean Jackson, Mike Alstott and Tony Dorsett,” as well as ESPN "MNF" announcer Mike Tirico. Tirico will be featured “in a faux TV studio where visitors to the tour can sit behind a studio desk and act the role of announcers, while video footage of their comments on the upcoming game is edited between two pre-shot segments.” GMC National Sales Promotion Manager Chris Hornberger said, “They are using their own social media pages to promote their appearances; some will be doing radio interviews to promote it as well.” The tour centers on a experiential program at “high-traffic areas in the above markets the weekends before Monday Night Football games that mixes football-skills challenges with test drives, with GMC getting consumer data via bar code lanyards worn by participants.” Hornberger said that the tour has brought in “Under Armour, the official sponsor of the NFL Scouting Combine events,” which will let participants “compare their scores against NFL pros.” The effort will also involve "a cause-marketing element via a partnership with the United Way” (MEDIAPOST.com, 9/21).