Friday, February 27, 2009

Suddenly, It's The Quail Hollow Championship

So now it’s the Quail Hollow Championship.
Say it a few times.
Quail Hollow Championship.
Quail Hollow Championship.
It sounds pretty good if you ask me.
The only surprise about the announcement that the Wachovia Championship name has gone away, effective immediately, is that it happened so close to the PGA Tour’s visit to Quail Hollow April 27-May 3.
But according to club president Johnny Harris and Kym Hougham, the event’s executive director, approximately 85 percent of all tournament-related materials will be re-branded before the tour players arrive in Charlotte.
It’s too late to print new tickets but pretty much everything else will bear the new name and logo. Just think, if you’re into logoed caps and shirts, you can buy new stuff this spring without feeling guilty. The new logo may debut next week.
And somewhere there will be some Wachovia Championship stuff at a really good price.
Considering all that’s happening with bank-related sponsorships these days, it isn’t shocking to see Wells Fargo officials pull the Wachovia name off the event.
Chrysler went low-profile at the Bob Hope tournament. Morgan Stanley is doing the same at the Memorial and Northern Trust officials are getting roasted for spending money on their event in Los Angeles last week, though they never requested money from the federal government and their tournament expenses came from their annual operating fund.
The name change here doesn’t mean the tournament is in danger of going away. It will remain here through 2014, when organizers have said it will wave goodbye for good.
It won’t have the Wells Fargo name on it but it will have the bank’s money paying for it. Or it will until another potential sponsor can be found that would take over what Wells Fargo inherited in the Wachovia acquisition.
Wells Fargo officials intend to evaluate the company’s involvement after this year’s event.
The way the contract works, the title sponsor pays a fee for the title, plus another fee for television advertising. Combined, that has cost more than $6.5 million annually for Wachovia as it will for Wells Fargo.
Then there’s the additional cost of entertaining clients and other tournament-related expenditures. That’s where Wells Fargo will cut back this year and, perhaps, beyond.
It’s a tricky situation for sponsors right now, particularly for struggling companies. They’re obligated to spend the money on their respective tournaments but they’re being criticized for honoring their commitment.
If you’re spending the money, I’d think you’d want to make the most of it. Don’t be frivolous but don’t hide what you’re doing. That’s part of what led to the trouble the industry is in today.
Big companies, banks included, can’t quit marketing. Some would argue marketing is more important now than ever.
In the case of Wachovia/Wells Fargo, the situation is different than others because a brand is essentially going away. It’s one thing to market a company, it’s something else to market one that soon won’t exist, at least not as we’ve come to know it.
Golf is a hot-button item, especially these days. California was considering adding an 8-10 percent sales tax on all things golf-related until recently. They weren’t going to tax football or swimming or basketball, just golf. Ask Governor Ah-nuld to explain it because I can’t.
The intent at Quail Hollow will continue to be to produce a PGA Tour that is a model for others. There’s no reason to think that will change.
The top players will still play here. The experience will still be exceptional for the spectators whether they’re in private tents or roaming the property. The whole thing will look and feel like something special, which it is.
The people running the Quail Hollow Championship know what they’re doing and they’re not going anywhere. Neither is the tournament. Just its old name.


Stormryder said...

The Quail Hollow Championship sounds way to local and doesn't carry the same clout, at least nationally, as Wachovia Championship. Kind of sounds like something Carl from Caddyshack would be involved with. Perhaps the Championship at Quail Hollow would work. Nonetheless I hope it remains the success it has become and the top players continue to attend.

Anonymous said...

Quail Hollow carries huge clout in the PGA. It is one of the main factors in the top rated players coming to the event year after year. Does the name "Kemper Open" ring a bell? They have a pool out back, a pool and a pond, the pond is probably better for you...

sakitime said...

Get used to this type of thing happening now that the democrats are in control. Maybe they should call it the Obama Classic where even if you don't own a pair of clubs you get to play. I hope now the white yuppie crowd will get it in charlotte now. How depressing!

Anonymous said...

Saki nice intelligent post. Obama has alot to do with golf. Half the US put up with a doorknob as our president for the last 8 years. If he pulls us out of this mess be openminded enough to acknowledge it.

This has what to do with golf?

Super Analyst said...

What do you expect from the folks that destroyed Wachovia

Anonymous said...

"Morgan Stanley is doing the same at the Memorial and Northern Trust officials are getting roasted for spending money on their event in Los Angeles last week, though they never requested money from the federal government and their tournament expenses came from their annual operating fund."

And how much would that operating fund be if they hadn't received taxpayer money? Would the company even exist or would it have gone the way of Lehman (or to keep it local, Wachovia)? Bet that operating fund would have been depleted trying to save MS.

Money is fungible. Once you receive it you can't separate from other money. Your point is ridiculous.

Alphahokie said...

Carpe diem "seize the day". Why not name it on behalf of a charity or cause! It would be mighty difficult to be negative towards that sponsorship. God forbid if just one dime of the banks operating fund was indirectly used to stimulate hotels, taxi drivers, bellman, restruarants or any other tournament support system!
"My golf-loving friend Bob Hope asked me what my handicap was. So I told him- the Congress." - Ronald Reagan

"Golf is like life in a lot of ways. All the biggest wounds are self-inflicted." - Bill Clinton