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Volume 24 No. 157

Events and Attractions

Construction at Oak Hill Country Club is "moving along at a remarkably crisp pace and with less than three weeks to go before the 95th PGA Championship commences, grandstands, television towers, and gargantuan merchandise, media and corporate hospitality structures have been erected," according to Sal Maiorana of the ROCHESTER DEMOCRAT & CHRONICLE. The "most impressive facility is the PGA merchandise store located on the club’s driving range." PGA of America Championship Operations Manager Bob Jeffrey said that the design of the structure is "about a 7-8 month process from conception to build." The size of the tent is determined by ticket sales and Jeffrey said, "Obviously, ticket sales here have been great." Maiorana noted the PGA of America "came up with a footprint of 31,000 square feet." Jeffrey: "The average size for a PGA Championship is about 30,000, and it’s much larger for a Ryder Cup, so this is slightly bigger than normal for a PGA." Maiorana wrote corporate hospitality tents also are a "marvel to behold." Approximately 50 companies have purchased spaces at the new Champions Club hospitality tent "that will accommodate either 10 or 30 people." The Wanamaker Club will also "offers a sports bar-type feel." Additionally, there is the Executive Club, a two-story structure that will be "divided into 22 separate suites with room to entertain 30 guests." These spaces "sold quickly -- the original plan was for 16 suites, but six more were added -- because the location provides a panoramic view" (ROCHESTER DEMOCRAT & CHRONICLE, 7/21).

TAKE YOUR PICK: This year's PGA Championship will also provide fans the first opprtunity ever to have a direct impact on the hole location at a major championship through the newly created "PGA Championship Pick the Hole Location Challenge Hosted by Jack Nicklaus." Fans can visit from July 23-Aug. 10 in order to vote for one of four final-round hole locations for the par-3, 181-yard 15th hole at Oak Hill. Nicklaus collaborated with PGA Chief Championships Officer Kerry Haigh to select the 15th hole due to the impact it will likely have on the PGA Championship's outcome (PGA of America). USA TODAY's Joe Fleming reports the PGA website will “provide video clips showing the 15th hole, with Nicklaus discussing each with the locations, what makes them interesting and how to approach them” (USA TODAY, 7/23).

Even during "a few years of bankruptcy" that Detroit will be facing, city officials said that most major sporting events "will go on, as usual, likely with few complications," according to Gregg Krupa of the DETROIT NEWS. But attracting new events "may be difficult." Detroit Sports Commission Exec Dir Dave Beachnau said of the bankruptcy, "As it relates to Detroit, in our opinion, it is more perception than reality. They think Detroit is closed for business, but nothing could be farther from the truth" (DETROIT NEWS, 7/22).

LUCKY CHARM: In Baltimore, Chris Korman writes competition in the market for corporate sponsors who "underwrite sporting events and venues is intense, and some worry that supply is outpacing demand." Grand Prix of Baltimore organizers last week said that they "won't be able to land a title sponsor" for the '13 event. The Leffler Agency President & Owner Bob Leffler said that sponsorships "can be a difficult sell" in Baltimore. Leffler said, "It's a back-office town. There are very few people here these days with the authority to decide their company is going to spend six figures on a sponsorship deal. And if they're having to run to New York or somewhere to pitch the idea, it's not going to resonate as strongly with the people there." Korman noted local government and business leaders "envision Baltimore as a destination for more large-scale sporting events, such as the Grand Prix, NCAA lacrosse games and possibly even Olympic events." But decision-makers at those organizations "may be reluctant to choose Baltimore if the market for sponsorship dollars becomes oversaturated." Maryland Office of Sports Marketing Exec Dir Terry Hasseltine said, "It's a tight, tight market, for sure. So that's one of our challenges, bringing people together and making sure the money is there. But it's something we've been doing and will need to continue to do." Sources said that marketing budgets "were cut during the recession and have yet to see a major rebound." Meanwhile, the "number of sports entities seeking support has grown" (Baltimore SUN, 7/21).

MY KIND OF TOWN: In Chicago, Engage Marketing President & Chief Solutions Officer Kevin Adler in a special wrote under the header, "Despite Loss Of X Games, Chicago Is In Good Shape." Austin last week was awarded the X Games from '14-17 over bids from Charlotte, Detroit and Chicago, and Adler wrote, "Pessimists on Twitter didn't hesitate to link Chicago's defeat to our failed 2016 Olympic bid." But the newly-formed Chicago Sports Commission and Exec Dir Sam Stark are "off to a good start," as the commission recently "captured the hosting of the World Triathlon Series." The hosting of a championship "is offered to a city on these terms: You pay to play." So Chicago "must be willing to pay" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 7/21).