Monday, June 2, 2008

ADT Championship to January?

We're all over the LPGA Tour's 2010 TV negotiations here at the GNN Blog. We have been linking to stories from Sports Biz Journal's Jon Show, but Craig Dolch at the Palm Beach Post gets in the act now.

LPGA Tour officials are giving serious consideration to turning their season-ending championship into the season-opening championship, starting in 2010.

Why? Well, that's usually a simple question in sports: Money.

The LPGA Tour is trying to find a network partner to be part of an eight-tournament TV package that would be tied to most of its marquee events. NBC and CBS - both networks air LPGA events - recently met with the tour and reportedly has shown some interest.

The ADT, with its seven-figure payoff and 32-player field, has quickly evolved into one of the LPGA Tour's top non-major events. Donald Trump gives them the Palm Beach treatment at the course and at Mar-a-Lago.

While there still are many moving parts, the LPGA hopes to finalize a deal in two months that could move the ADT to a spot in late January, a week before the Super Bowl. (There would be no event in 2009.)

This is in line with what Show has reported for about a week or two now. And, by way of summary, Dolch poses questions that are key to this discussion:

  • Would Donald Trump want to close his course to members for a full week during the prime tourist season?
  • How will the different date affect the quality of play? Most of the field may not have played in a tournament for a few months.
  • Will the LPGA membership want its money list so skewed with the $1 million first prize to start the season?
  • Will ADT stay on as sponsor? The Boca Raton-based company's sponsorship ends after this year.
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