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Volume 25 No. 129

Marketing and Sponsorship

Colonial Country Club is "poised to announce a new sponsorship agreement" with the Charles Schwab that would have the company take over entitlement of the course's annual PGA Tour event, according to sources cited by Rex Hoggard of Tournament officials "scrambled this year after Dean & DeLuca ended its sponsorship of the event just two years into a six-year agreement, pulling together an assortment of local sponsors and renaming the event the Fort Worth Invitational" (, 4/19). In Dallas, Brad Townsend reports Colonial plans to "make a formal announcement next Monday ... if no snags arise" in the agreement. The multiyear deal will be a "huge life-extending boost for one of the PGA Tour's most tradition-steeped events." Although Charles Schwab is headquartered in S.F., it has 22 branches in Texas. The company also is building a $100M "campus in Westlake, north of Fort Worth." Charles Schwab would "represent to Colonial a sponsor with a long, deeply rooted association with the PGA Tour." The company since '01 has "been the title sponsor of the Champions Tour's Charles Schwab Cup." That deal expanded in '16 to include the Champion Tour's playoffs. Charles Schwab also is the "official investment firm of the PGA Tour" (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 4/19).

SOMETHING TO BANK ON? In Charlotte, Erik Spanberg reports it is increasingly likely the Wells Fargo Championship will remain on the PGA Tour's schedule "two years from now." The bank's title sponsorship expires after the '19 event. Wells Fargo region bank President Kendall Alley and Quail Hollow President Johnny Harris both said that the future of the tournament is "likely to be determined by the end of this summer" (, 4/19).

Chen has complained about boot problems throughout her career but never said the manufacturer by name
Photo: Getty Images

California-based skate maker Avanta Boots Lab ended its sponsorship deal with U.S. figure skater Karen Chen after she complained that her boots "broke down before competing in the free skate" in the Pyeongchang Games, according to Elliott Almond of the San Jose MERCURY NEWS. Avanta President Will Murillo "took the remarks personally although Chen has complained about boot problems throughout her career and never mentioned the manufacturer by name." The company last month posted on Facebook: "Avanta stands by its decision to end our sponsorship with Karen Chen. This decision was based on the expectation that the behavior of an Olympian is beyond reproach." Murillo "felt Chen's words reflected poorly on Avanta by suggesting that the boots were defective." Chen has since "joined forces with Jackson Skates," a Canadian-based company that supplies equipment to fellow Olympians Nathan Chen and Mirai Nagasu (San Jose MERCURY NEWS, 4/18). 

S.F.-based NRG Esports and its Overwatch League team S.F. Shock will "help sponsor" the Univ. of California's esports programs, according to Benny Evangelista of the S.F. CHRONICLE. NRG Chair and NBA Kings co-Owner Andy Miller said that the deal "includes funding for the campus' planned esports community center as well as uniform sponsorships for teams like the university's two-time national champion 'Overwatch' squad." The three-year deal is worth about $225,000, and includes "help developing a range of esports programs such as a Women in Gaming initiative to help students explore careers in the gaming industry" (S.F. CHRONICLE, 4/19). 

VIVA LAS VEGAS: Esports Arena Las Vegas signed HyperX, the gaming division of Kingston Technology, as its official peripheral and arena partner. The venue will feature HyperX gaming headsets, keyboards, mice and mouse pads to be used for their esports tournaments, events and gaming stations. HyperX gaming peripherals will be available in the arena's merchandise stores (Esports Arena Las Vegas). 

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Surveys last year showed 56% of fans would consider buying a Toyota, on par with Ford and Chevrolet
Photo: Getty Images

In Richmond, Charlie Broaddus notes Toyota Senior Manager of Motorsports Marketing Paul Doleshal said that data "shows that NASCAR fans have become fonder of Toyota since its entrance in the Xfinity and Monster Energy Cup series" in '07. Doleshal said that when Toyota "first entered those series," 25% of NASCAR fans said that they "would consider buying a Toyota." The same surveys last year showed that 56% of fans now would "consider buying a Toyota, putting the brand on par with Ford and Chevrolet." Toyota has title sponsored the spring race at Richmond Raceway the past five years, and the company's Racing Development President David Wilson said that the partnership was "born from a desire to prove its commitment to the sport through a flagship event at one of NASCAR’s historic sites" (RICHMOND TIMES-DISPATCH, 4/19).

ENERGY EFFICIENT: Michigan-based energy company Consumers has bought the naming rights to the August Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race at Michigan Int'l Speedway. Financial terms were not disclosed for the multiyear deal, but Consumers Energy replaces state tourism arm Pure Michigan. Consumers is a pre-existing partner of the ISC-owned venue, having helped co-promote sustainability efforts as it transitions from using coal power. Consumers will utilize the entitlement to continue pushing its clean energy program, while also sponsoring the inaugural MIS charity dinner in June and the track’s 50th anniversary exhibit in the MIS fan plaza (Adam Stern, Staff Writer).

WELCOME TO THE TEAM: Joe Gibbs Racing announced XYO Network will sponsor Erik Jones for two Cup series races and Brandon Jones for six Xfinity Series races this season. Meanwhile, XYO Network has signed IndyCar driver J.R. Hildebrand as an endorser ahead of this year's Indianapolis 500. XYO Network is a crypto-currency location verification service (THE DAILY).

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