Major Farr sponsors have not yet committed to 2010Written by Duane Ramsey | | email@example.com
While the Jamie Farr Owens Corning Classic celebrates the 25th anniversary of the LPGA tournament this year, the future of the event remains uncertain.
The Jamie Farr Classic is in the last year of its contract with the LPGA and corporate sponsors, according to Judd Silverman, tournament director and founder.
“We feel very good about where we are in this tough economic climate,” he said. “It’s been a challenge, but we’re grateful to our sponsors who have remained loyal to it.”
Owens Corning is the title sponsor, and Kroger, the presenting sponsor of the Jamie Farr to be hosted June 29 through July 5 at Highland Meadows Golf Club in Sylvania. Owens Corning is also a sponsor of Paula Creamer who won the event in 2008 and is returning to defend her title.
“We’ve been delighted with our experience in the Jamie Farr Classic over the years,” said Scott Deitz, vice president of corporate media and investor relations at Owens Corning. “Our absolute focus is on having a successful tournament in 2009 and we’ll take a look at 2010 after this year’s event.”
Kroger has a yearly contract for the tournament and will meet with LPGA officials during the tournament this year to discuss a contract for 2010, according to Kroger spokeswoman Amy McCormick.
“We certainly hope they renegotiate another contract,” said Craig Stough, mayor of the host city for the past 14 years. “It’s a wonderful event to have in our community and it brings thousands of fans to Sylvania.”
The LPGA event draws about 75,000 spectators. It involves 144 LPGA players, their caddies and families, as well as more than 50 employees of ESPN and hundreds of other media members covering the competition.
The tournament is expected to bring about $2 million into the local economy based on past expenditures for food, lodging and other products at area hotels, restaurants and retail stores. Estimated figures for this year were not available.
The final three rounds of the tournament will be televised on ESPN-2 again this year. Silverman said the tournament will pay EPSN $360,000 for that coverage and receive national commercial units to sell to sponsors and local businesses.
“We have taken a net loss for that coverage the past few years, but continue doing it because it creates very positive national exposure for Toledo and Northwest Ohio,” Silverman said.
“We benefit from that national attention so the city of Sylvania will have three commercials that promote the community airing on ESPN-2 to help pay for the TV coverage,” Stough said.
“It’s a great boon for us and we’re gearing up for a very big week,” said Michael Fletcher, owner of Treo, a restaurant on Main Street in downtown Sylvania.
It will be the fourth Jamie Farr Classic for Fletcher who worked at Trattoria Sofo before opening his own restaurant at the same location.
“We’re excited it’s happening on Fourth of July weekend and looking forward to having Jamie Farr here for dinner one night,” Fletcher said.
Treo is one of several restaurants that will participate in the annual “Taking it to the Streets” event hosted in downtown Sylvania on July 2 from 5 p.m. until 9 p.m. It is sponsored by the Sylvania Area Chamber of Commerce.
“We shut down Main Street and create a festival atmosphere,” Stough said.
The event is open to the public and includes food, beverages, a car show and musical entertainment.
The Wingate by Wyndam Hotel on Main Street is completely booked for the week of the tournament by a mix of fans, players and golf officials. The hotel has 74 rooms and usually has an 80 percent occupancy rate.
“We’re very grateful to the community, our sponsors and the hundreds of volunteers who have supported it,” Silverman said. “It’s truly a community event and people should be proud of supporting the tournament for 25 years.”