Checking In With Ty Votaw

Given the Northern Trust situation and the subsequent pullback from tournament sponsors Morgan Stanley and Wachovia , we thought it would be a good time to check in with Ty Votaw, executive vice president of the PGA Tour.

Darren: What's your take on the government scrutiny surrounding marketing by companies that have received TARP funding?

Votaw: TARP stands for Troubled Assets Relief Program. We think that it makes sense for these companies to invest in great platforms like the PGA Tour, where they get a great return on their investment and it also helps stimulate the economy.

Darren: Do you feel like sports marketing in particular is being singled out here?

Votaw:Well, some of these institutions are still advertising on television and that spending isn't being criticized. I think those with a level understanding see why sponsoring our events is still a great value proposition. It's a great business to business building tool, the brand association pays dividends including a charity component that no other sport has and there's obviously a lot of value in the broad international reach we bring thanks to the places our players come from and the worldwide distribution of our television coverage.

Darren: Tell me why the Northern Trust activation — the parties and the concerts — was appropriate?

Votaw:The company is the wealth management business. They had some very big customers related to their business and entertainment has proven to be an effective tool. Everything is relative.

Darren: US Bank is out of the Milwaukee event after this year, FBR is out of Phoenix after next year. What's the state of PGA Tour sponsorship given the financial crisis?

Votaw:Accenture just announced that they are going to extend their sponsorship through 2014 and two-thirds of our title sponsors are now extended through the 2012 season or beyond. This is a tough environment that everyone is dealing with and we've just been reminding people of the great value proposition that we present and that is that you'll get more than what you put in when you attach your brand to our brand.

Questions? Comments?