Here we go. The PGA Tour has found a new umbrella sponsor for its developmental tour: Web.com — which, effective immediately, will replace the Nationwide Tour as the title sponsor. Yes, that means you will now call it the Web.com Tour.
All parties insist the Q-school format change had nothing to do with inking the deal. So then, let’s just keep the status quo, right?
Check out the company’s homepage (kinda weird, no?)…and here’s the media blast:
PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. – The PGA TOUR and Web.com (Nasdaq:WWWW), the leading provider of internet services and online marketing solutions for small- to medium-sized businesses (SMBs), today announced a 10-year agreement whereby the company becomes the umbrella sponsor of the newly named Web.com Tour.
Formerly known as the Nationwide Tour, the Web.com Tour will continue to identify and transition players who are ready to compete and win on the PGA TOUR. It currently awards PGA TOUR membership to the 25 leading money winners at the end of the season. Beginning in 2013, however, the importance of the Web.com Tour will further increase when the new qualifying structure for the PGA TOUR expands that number to 50.
The Web.com umbrella sponsorship takes effect immediately with this week’s United Leasing Championship at Victoria National Golf Club near Evansville, Ind., and extends through 2021. In addition to the umbrella sponsorship, Web.com will also become an Official Marketing Partner of the PGA TOUR, Web.com Tour and Champions Tour.
The announcements were made jointly by PGA TOUR Commissioner Tim Finchem; David L. Brown, Web.com’s Chairman, President and CEO; and Bill Calfee, President of the Web.com Tour.
Web.com to Significantly Expand Reach to SMBs through Sponsorship
“This sponsorship is a perfect fit for us – Web.com is committed to helping small- and medium-sized businesses compete and succeed online, just as the Web.com Tour helps talented, dedicated athletes maximize their potential and fulfill their dreams,” Brown said. “The Web.com brand will gain exceptional visibility as a result of our sponsorship of the Web.com Tour. In addition, we believe that the professionalism and competition of PGA TOUR golf resonates strongly with small- and medium-sized business owners, making the national and international exposure we achieve with this sponsorship an unparalleled opportunity to reach more of our target market.”
As the umbrella sponsor of the Tour, Web.com will receive media coverage throughout the year and international television exposure through Golf Channel’s live telecasts of Web.com Tour tournaments and ancillary programming. Extensive branding and promotion at tournament sites; local and national advertising opportunities across print, broadcast, internet and social media properties; regular exposure through PGA TOUR media assets and various hospitality opportunities are also part of the Web.com agreement. The Web.com Tour will also be a familiar element during PGA TOUR telecasts, particularly when alumni play their way into contention. In addition, Web.com, via its Official Marketing Partnership, will offer its internet services and online solutions for players across all three Tours and events looking to grow their individual brands.
Brown continued, “This sponsorship is a unique and powerful opportunity to elevate our brand on a highly desirable global platform, but it also offers us deep, local exposure in the 27 markets where Web.com Tour events are currently staged as well as access to other markets where the PGA TOUR and the Champions Tour have forged strong ties. We intend to actively engage in those communities and use our expertise to help local businesses and organizations succeed online.”
Web.com will also enhance each Web.com Tour community through charitable outreach. In 2011, the Web.com Tour raised $7.35 million for charity, pushing its cumulative total since inception in 1990 to $75 million.
Solidifying the Future of the Web.com Tour
With today’s announcement, the Web.com Tour’s long-term future is solidified by aligning with a growing, highly successful company whose expertise caters to the size of business that would include tournaments, charities and even players, as independent contractors. Through its relationship with the PGA TOUR, Web.com will make its services available for website development and online marketing to those groups.
“We are extremely pleased to welcome Web.com into the PGA TOUR’s family of sponsors,” Finchem said. “The Web.com Tour truly is an extension of the PGA TOUR and has proven to be the most effective and consistent indicator of future success on TOUR. We consider this an ideal association with a recognized industry leader in helping small- to medium-sized businesses become successful as a result of using its services. To that end, we are particularly delighted that, in addition to the sponsorship, Web.com will be offering its expertise to help our tournaments, players and charities enhance their own web presence.”
The success of the Web.com Tour is reflected in the success of its alumni since the Tour was introduced in 1990. As the “official proving ground of the PGA TOUR,” three out of four PGA TOUR members have played on the Web.com Tour and alumni have accounted for more than 330 TOUR victories.
With structural changes to PGA TOUR qualifying in 2013 that were first announced in March, the Web.com Tour will become even more important to the TOUR. Starting next year, all 50 new PGA TOUR membership cards will be awarded through the Web.com Tour, with the three final tournaments on the Web.com Tour combining PGA TOUR and Web.com Tour players to determine who earns those 50 cards. The fields for the three final Web.com Tour events, which will be held around the FedExCup Playoffs, will include the top 75 players on the Web.com Tour’s money list, the players ranked 126-200 on the PGA TOUR’s FedExCup points list and non-members who meet certain eligibility standards. The annual Qualifying Tournament now will become the eligibility avenue to the Web.com Tour.
“Since its inception in 1990, the Web.com Tour has been the proving ground for many of the most successful players on the PGA TOUR,” said Bill Calfee, President of the Web.com Tour. “In addition to the quality of play, the standard of our tournaments has been significantly elevated to the point that today the Tour truly is an extension of the PGA TOUR in every way. Now, with an outstanding new umbrella sponsor in Web.com and the new PGA TOUR qualifying changes that will award all 50 new cards through our final three tournaments, the Web.com Tour is poised to continue to shape and strengthen the future of the PGA TOUR.”
Nationwide Insurance sponsored the Tour since 2003. As previously announced, the Columbus, Ohio-based company decided to assume presenting sponsorship of its hometown PGA TOUR event, the Memorial Tournament, when that opportunity opened for the 2011 season. It was prepared to fulfill its umbrella sponsorship of the Tour through this year before Web.com expressed interest in assuming the sponsorship immediately.
“Nationwide has been a terrific partner of the PGA TOUR for more than 20 years, dating back to its involvement as a tournament sponsor on the Champions Tour, ” Finchem said. “We thank Nationwide for its tremendous support and contributions as an umbrella sponsor of the Tour since 2003. We are delighted we will continue to work together on Nationwide’s two Columbus-based events, Jack Nicklaus’ Memorial Tournament on the PGA TOUR and the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Invitational on the Web.com Tour.”
“Nationwide is proud of our 10-year association with the Nationwide Tour, the PGA TOUR and all the outstanding individuals dedicated to developing and preparing golfers for the next stage of their professional lives,” said Matt Jauchius, Chief Marketing and Strategy Officer for Nationwide. “We look forward to our continued partnership with the PGA TOUR as sponsor of the Memorial Tournament and the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Invitational, and wish both the Tour and Web.com the best in their new partnership.”
Headquartered in Jacksonville, FL, Web.com has nearly three million customers. With the acquisition of Register.com in 2010 and Network Solutions in 2011, Web.com is now a leading domain registrar focused on the small business market.
About the Web.com Tour
Founded (1990), owned and operated by the PGA TOUR, the Web.com Tour identifies those players who are ready to compete and win on golf’s biggest stage. As the official proving ground of the PGA TOUR, three out of four PGA TOUR members are Web.com Tour alumni. Tour alumni have won nearly 340 PGA TOUR titles, including 16 majors and five PLAYERS Championships. Twenty-five PGA TOUR cards are at stake over the course of 27 events in 2012.
(Getty Images/David Cannon)