Monday, February 04, 2008

PGA Tour Sells Naming Rights to TPC San Antonio Courses

This isn't likely to have much impact except to the bottom line, but it's interesting because it's something that's rarely seen in golf. Selling naming rights to stadium and arenas is a given these days; and major corporations sign on as title sponsors to golf tournaments, tennis tournaments, college football bowl games and all kinds of other major sporting events.

But selling the naming rights to a golf course? Not very common.

That's what the PGA Tour has done, however, in San Antonio, with the two TPC courses now under construction that will be a part of the JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort and Spa. The two courses, one designed by Pete Dye, the other by Greg Norman, and both certain to be the new homes of the city's PGA Tour and Champions Tour tournaments, will be known as the AT&T Oaks Course and the AT&T Canyons course, the San Antonio Express-News reported.

Officials with AT&T and PGA Tour wouldn't discuss financial terms of AT&T's sponsorship, but PGA Tour Director of Business Development Jody Brothers said the agreement would last "definitely more than 10 years."

"San Antonio is an important market to us," said Jamie Burke, AT&T vice president of brand integration. "Not just because it's our hometown. It also attracts visitors from around the globe. This is about our branding, but it's also about having a great way to showcase our products and services."

Will golfers visiting the resort notice anything other than the name? According to the newspaper:

AT&T will provide innovative phone, Internet and video services at the courses, Burke said. It could, for example, provide equipment that allows visitors to film their lesson with golf pros, then send digitized versions of their lessons to their home computers, she said.

"I could see a situation where there's wireless scorekeeping with hand-held devices out on the course," PGA Tour's Brothers said. "When the guest gets done, they'll realize they had a fantastic time, and AT&T was behind some of the programs."

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