FedEx could hold the keys to PGA Tour’s television negotiations
Unlike the 2010 PGA Tour season that was dominated by Tiger-gate and rules scandals, 2011 is shaping up to be a banner year for golf. With Woods making his return to the West Coast and players like Rory McIlroy and Rickie Fowler leading an extremely-talented youth movement, it’s safe to say the sport has never looked better — on the course.
Off the course? That’s a different story. With the tour in a negotiation year with network execs and a number of tournaments still struggling to find sponsors, the business side of the sport is on rocky ground. Whether Tim Finchem wants to admit it or not there are some loose ends that need tying up in the coming months.
One of those loose ends would be nailing down a new contract with FedEx — one of the tour’s biggest sponsors. Aside from the title sponsor of the FedEx Cup, the logistics company has gone all-in on golf’s biggest event. And after signing on to much fanfare a couple years back, recent comments about the format and lack of excitement probably have FedEx wondering if the deal was worth it in the first place.
As Ryan Ballengee from NBC’s Pro Golf Talk pointed out, there’s a sense of urgency for the tour to get the FedEx deal done before television negotiations.
Also, here’s what Michael Smith from Sports Business Journal had to say on the matter:
The tour likely will enter into renewal talks with FedEx, umbrella sponsor of the season long points championship, in 2011. That deal goes through 2012 and includes options to go longer. Locking down FedEx to a long-term deal that would include a heavy advertising commitment would be a bonus for the tour entering TV negotiations with CBS and NBC later in 2011.
“Any time we’ve got commitments like FedEx, it’s helpful,” Wade said. “But I think it would be an overstatement to say we must get it done” before the TV talks begin.
So while signing a lucrative television contract would still appear to be number one on the to-do list, re-upping with FedEx is definitely a strong 1A.