Title Sponsorship Negotiations Continue For '13 LPGA Safeway Classic
The '13 LPGA Tour Safeway Classic "remains up in the air as tournament organizers continue to negotiate with Safeway about continuing as sponsor," according to Mike Tokito of the Portland OREGONIAN. Safeway and event organizer The Tournament Golf Foundation "have been in discussions about renewing the relationship" since this year's tournament in August. One potential "sticking point in the negotiations is the length of the sponsorship agreement." When Safeway originally signed on as sponsor in '96, it signed "a three-year rolling contract, and for the first 13 years, the grocery chain agreed to extend the deal one additional year at the end of each tournament." But in '08, Safeway decided to "revisit the rolling clause and made 2011 an option year." After the '10 tournament, Safeway "announced in October that it picked up the 2011 option." A similar one-year extension "was announced last December." Safeway President of Seattle & Portland Divisions Steve Frisby said, "This is the time of the year when those decisions are made, and I would fully expect there would be an announcement in short order." Tokito notes the tournament has been played "in the Portland area for 41 years, making it the longest-running regular tournament on the LPGA Tour." This year's event, held at Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club’s Ghost Creek course in North Plains, drew 81,000 fans, "the fourth consecutive year in which attendance has been at least 80,000." Meanwhile, an "exclamation point" was put on the '12 event yesterday when it was announced that the tournament raised $1M for charity (OREGONLIVE.com, 12/5).