The ACC yesterday announced a "six-year contract extension" that keeps its football championship game in Charlotte through '19, according to Erik Spanberg of the CHARLOTTE BUSINESS JOURNAL. The city has hosted the game since '10, and the conference during the past four years has "operated on consecutive two-year contracts" with Bank of America Stadium. Attendance for the game from over the past four years "hovered near an average of 70,000" at the 74,000-seat facility. Last year's Florida State-Duke game drew a "reported attendance of 67,694, but upper-deck tarps across some seating sections and many empty seats throughout the stadium made it clear the crowd was considerably smaller." Charlotte Sports Foundation organizers "emphasized the importance of increasing advance ticket sales no matter which schools play in the annual championship." Lagging ticket sales for the ACC Championship in Jacksonville in the game's first three years "led the conference to seek stronger support in Tampa (2008 and 2009) and, later, Charlotte." Financial details were not disclosed, but the arrangement "involves a rental fee for the stadium, unlike the Belk Bowl." ACC Commissioner John Swofford said that conference campaigns to "help sell more tickets in advance of the game are in the works" and he "praised Charlotte for supporting the championship better than any other city." Charlotte Sports Foundation Exec Dir Will Webb said that ticket prices for the '14 game will "be disclosed in the near future" and are "likely to remain the same" (BIZJOURNALS.com, 2/24). Swofford said, "Charlotte is in the heart of the ACC footprint. It's a terrific destination with tremendous people." Webb said to Swofford, "Our goal is six years from now you’ll be announcing a 20-year extension. We are committed to making this game the best" (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 2/25).
ONE-STOP SHOPPING: The Charlotte Sports Foundation is considering a seat license at Bank of America Stadium that would guarantee the license-holder tickets to the events for which it helps organize and sell tickets -- the ACC title game, the Belk Bowl and, in some years, an additional neutral-site college football game. Webb said that the license would most likely be free, but the license holder would sign a six-year contract to buy tickets to each of the games, and in return, would be guaranteed seats in the same location. Tickets to the Belk Bowl in '13 ranged from $35 to $115, while ACC Championship Game tickets start at $25 and go up to more than $60. The foundation also has the Univ. of North Carolina and the Univ. of South Carolina set to play their '15 season opener in Charlotte. Webb also is negotiating with several teams to play neutral-site openers at BofA Stadium in future years. Those schools are from the five power conferences, plus Notre Dame. Other sites competing with Charlotte for neutral-site season openers include Atlanta, Dallas, Houston, Miami and Orlando (Michael Smith, Staff Writer).
The March 5-9 WGC-Cadillac Championship at the Trump National Doral Miami is "being transformed into a glamorous, sexy, multifaceted event as its organizers hope to lure in a younger, hipper, more affluent crowd," according to Ina Paiva Cordle of the MIAMI HERALD. Tournament Chair Butch Buchholz said, "We're bringing South Beach to Doral." The event will have "more food, more drinks, more fashion, and more music and entertainment than ever before." Trump National Doral VP & Managing Dir David Feder said that the resort's 60,000 square-foot clubhouse "will have been completely renovated, with additions such as a third ballroom, a new BLT Prime and other food and beverage outlets" by the time the tournament begins. The clubhouse's retail shop and fitness center also "have been redone." The tournament over the past two years has "ventured into music and fashion, culminating with this year’s creation of a full-fledged social and entertainment event." PGA Tour Exec VP/Championship Management & Tournament Business David Pillsbury said that this year's tournament will "offer an Escalade Lounge, 'where spikes meet stilettos,'" that will "give patrons the best views of the newly renovated 16th hole." The VIP experience "includes shuttles back and forth" from the clubhouse in Escalades. Cadillac will "have dozens of vehicles on display at the tournament, and is also creating a 'V-Series Performance Center,' an interactive area that will offer a golf swing analysis via a simulator." Ivanka Trump, the daughter of course owner Donald Trump, will host a "Friday evening fashion show featuring Carolina Herrera." The tournament also will "host a concert" on Saturday "headlined by Travie McCoy." The event also has "brought in former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush" as Honorary Chair (MIAMI HERALD, 2/23).
WORKING ON HIS LONG GAME: GOLF WORLD's Jaime Diaz profiles Donald Trump's growing golf portfolio as part of this week's cover story and writes Trump has been "devoting more of his battle-tested business acumen and personal chutzpah to compete for the best available golf properties in the world, and is picking off some gems." The $25M renovation to Trump National Doral is "front and center" after it was "miraculously completed in less than a year." However, Trump's "all-in commitment to developing part of his huge Scottish parcel of tumbling dunes by the North Sea near Aberdeen" led to Trump Int'l Golf Links opening in '12 and "established him as golf's most important builder today." Perhaps the "most intriguing" course he is working on is the Jack Nicklaus-designed Trump Golf Links at Ferry Point. That is the "long-embattled public course in the Bronx where Trump ... won the right to manage the course scheduled to open this year." The site's "views of the Manhattan skyline and location on Long Island Sound have prompted both the USGA and PGA of America to scout the layout as a possible site for championships." Trump also is "considering a complete redo of the public Trump National Los Angeles" and has a "verbal agreement" with Ben Crenshaw and Bill Coore to build a course near Charlottesville, Va. (GOLF WORLD, 3/3 issue).