Monday, August 18, 2008

PGA Tour Playoff Revenue Pacing Last Year

Jon Show has the goods on the financial impact of Woods' absence from the Tour. It apparently is nominal, at best, which is encouraging news for golf sans-Tiger.

Corporate sponsorship, hospitality and ticket revenue for all four playoff events — this week’s The Barclays, followed by the Deutsche Bank Championship, the BMW Championship and the Tour Championship — are at least pacing even with the same point last year.

Given the decline in attendance and TV ratings for events missed by Woods, whose season ended in June because of injury, the results may signal that the new playoff format is having its intended consequence.

“Hopefully the playoffs and the whole concept is transcending one player,” said Eric Baldwin, director of the Deutsche Bank Championship. This is the first time Woods will miss the tournament in its six-year history.

In my mind, there are some events that are kind of bulletproof regardless of the field. The FBR Open comes to mind and so do both the Tour Championship and the Deutsche Bank event. The Tour Championship has a limited pool of interest in Atlanta, usually with small crowds. The Deutsche Bank is played on a fun course in a great sports area - Boston. No matter who is playing TPC Boston during Labor Day weekend, the fans will come out in droves. That's good to know.

I also think that there will be some serious help to the other two playoff events because they are being contested at alternate/new venues this year. This week's The Barclays will be held at the Tillinghast Ridgewood Country Club and St Louis' Bellerive will host the BMW Championship before returning to Chitown in 2009.

It's with that in mind that the ticket success at the new venues is no mystery:

John Kaczkowski, director of the BMW Championship, said ticket revenue at his event was up 150 percent and hospitality sales were double those of last year. The tournament limited ticket sales this year to weekly booklets and created new hospitality options after selling out of its original inventory.

Barclays director Peter Mele, whose event moved this year from Westchester County, N.Y., to Paramus, N.J., said ticket revenue was pacing five to six times ahead of last year thanks to increases in volume and prices. Corporate sponsorship and hospitality revenue were up 6 percent.

Show goes on to say that ticket revenue at TPC Boston and East Lake is about flat.

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