New date paying off for Tour Championship
The PGA Tour’s schedule change is paying dividends for the season-ending FedEx Cup Tour Championship in Atlanta, where organizers are profiting from a newfound lack of competition from other sports events in the local market.
Tour Championship officials said that moving the Tour Championship to August from September has helped increase hospitality sales by 23% while boosting ticket sales between 10% and 15% as the event takes center stage in the less-cluttered August sports market.
No longer is the Tour Championship competing against the Atlanta Falcons and college football for fan interest. In addition, last year’s Tour Championship faced competition from an Atlanta United FC match and the Atlanta Braves. Combined, tournament executives said there were 340,000 more tickets competing in the market last year.
The Tour Championship is set for Aug. 22-25 at East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta.
“This is a great opportunity to get out of the cluttered sports schedule in Atlanta,” said Allison Fillmore, executive director of the Tour Championship. “It’s a better fit on the calendar this year. Football is king in the South.”
The restructuring of the PGA Tour schedule shifting the Tour Championship to August meant the loss of one month in selling the event, but the 11-month sales cycle has not adversely affected business.
“We lost a month but we were confident in the overarching elements of the schedule,” said Martin Stephenson, tournament director of the Tour Championship. “People recognize the benefit of the new date. We are the only show in town. We have had tremendous growth. That is a direct reflection of the significance of the date change.”
In addition to the strong ticket sales, the PGA Tour schedule change has helped the tournament sell out the all-inclusive 1904 Club. The 500 hospitality tickets to the 1904 Club sold for $4,500 each and were gone by April.
East Lake also will see new sponsorship activation with new PGA Tour sponsor Meiomi Wines unveiling its Meiomi Lounge (see image at left), featuring the company’s wine, a personalized pro shop, a putting green and other branded products.
“The date change speaks to the success of the event,” Fillmore said. “The tournament has captured a greater grasp of the community.”