Sports Outside the Beltway

PGA Tour season opener has new sponsor

Seoul Broadcasting System aka SBS will be replacing Mercedes. From AP-

The PGA Tour added its first new title sponsor since the economic meltdown and shored up its season opener in Kapalua by announcing a 10-year deal Thursday with Korea-based SBS International.

Seoul Broadcasting System also extended by seven years its exclusive agreement to show PGA Tour events in Korea.

The deals run through 2019.

The tour has had mixed economic news this year. It is losing title sponsors in Phoenix, Milwaukee and Florida, while agreeing to contract extensions for four other tournaments through 2014.

But this represents its first new sponsor since the economy’s downturn last fall. SBS is the only media company to be a title sponsor on the PGA Tour, which has relied largely on the automobile and financial industry in the last decade.


SBS had been the title sponsor of an LPGA Tournament on Oahu, which ended this year. SBS president Sang Chun said its LPGA deal helped spur interest in golf in Korea, and he expects the same dynamic with its PGA Tour deal.

SBS ended its sponsorship of the LPGA season opener in wake of how they were treated by the tour when they decided to enter into a new Korean television deal.

The contract with J Golf, which has yet to be announced by the tour or the network, but details of which were obtained by Golf World, is a multiyear deal likely worth in excess of $4 million annually, according to sources familiar with the negotiations. That is up significantly from the $2.25 million SBS says it paid to broadcast 30 events in Korea this year. Asked if his company would continue to sponsor the SBS Open when coverage moves to J Golf next year, Sang Y. Chun, president and CEO of SBS International, said: “Absolutely not.”

Chun, who said he was “disappointed, upset really” at losing the contract, said his feelings were “not about the money [but] about the way we were treated.”

The PGA Tour is much more sponsor friendly than the Carolyn Bivens led LPGA Tour. Cases in point include past LPGA sponsors Shoprite, Wendy’s, ADT, and SBS. All of whom were not happy with the their treatment. Now the LPGA’s schedule is falling apart at the same time the world wide economy is in bad shape. Any sensible people at tour headquarters in Daytona Beach, plus the LPGA players would certainly like those sponsors back. The firing of Carolyn Bivens is long over due, but how wrecked will the LPGA be before she gets the axe?

Ryan at Waggle Room is also commenting.

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