Tuesday, July 29, 2008

In News That Surprises Nobody, LPGA Might Lose Sponsors

As much as we all push for equal rights amongst all demographics, everyone has that logical portion of the brain that knows things like the LPGA and WNBA just don't make that much money (you could make the same argument about the CFL or minor league baseball).

Golfweek reported today that the LPGA might lose sponsors next season even as it seems the tour has boomed of late with all the young stars making waves.

The future of the Ginn Tribute, the SemGroup Championship and Fields Open appear in doubt. Such uncertainty follows on the heels of Safeway’s announcement earlier this year that it would drop its sponsorship of the Phoenix tour stop.

The most significant setback would be the loss of the Ginn event in Charleston, one of the most lucrative purses on tour; Ginn sponsors two LPGA events and each offers a $2.6 million purse. When the event was announced in 2006, LPGA Commissioner Carolyn Bivens touted it as an example of the LPGA’s bigger, better approach to business.

As I can report way too personally, SemGroup isn't going to be sponsoring anything in the near future.

I always root hard for the LPGA, and not just because I think Paula Creamer and Natalie Gulbis are hot. I think the tour offers a very rare situation (matched only with tennis) for both men and women to view sports that they can't do and that they are impressed with. Unlike the WNBA, it's golfers playing a course condition that you the average golfer would struggle with. You leave impressed, not questionable.

I'm sure more sponsors will step up, but a problem that has always plagued the LGPA seems to be resurfacing. Hey, at least the economy is doing really well!


John said...

In the short run, this might not seem good for the LPGA, but in the long run this might benefit their tour. I wonder if the same thing will happen to the PGA Tour, though to a lesser extent---the PGA has WAY too many touring pros and WAY too many marginal tournaments. Sometimes sports leagues need to contract, not expand, to become stronger.

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