Recession writes new rules for PGA Tour sponsors
You might have noticed that the upcoming PGA Tour event in Charlotte no longer bears the name of its title sponsor the past few years, Wachovia.
That’s because Wells Fargo of San Francisco bought Wachovia, and the Wachovia brand is being phased out. So instead of calling it the Wells Fargo Championship, it’s simply the Quail Hollow Championship, named for the country club that hosts the event.
It was a class and prudent move by Well Fargo. It was classy in that in this time of multi-billion dollar bailouts the last thing we need to see are bank names on tour event titles. And it was prudent considering all the bad press that the Northern Trust Corp. received earlier this year for having its name on the Northern Trust Open given that it was one of the banks that received federal bailout money.
Still, Wells is honoring Wachovia’s contract, paying more than $6 million a year through 2014. In the past, however, Wachovia would have flown in clients for all-expense paid trips, thrown lavish parties and hired big name entertainment. Now, clients get free tickets and entry into the sponsor pavilions, but they pay their own way to get there.
If this is as bad as it gets, it really isn’t too bad. As far as the players are concerned, the purses are still there, the golf course is still maintained to the nth degree, and the fans will turn out like they always do.
Maybe this is the way it should have been all along.
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