The Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial will be the official name of Fort Worth’s annual PGA Tour stop for the next five years.
Officials at the hotel chain agreed today to extend their agreement as title sponsor of the tournament through 2015, ending several months of uncertainty about the future of the relationship in a challenging economy.
As part of the deal, InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) _ the parent company of Crowne Plaza _ will become an official partner of the PGA Tour, Champions Tour and Nationwide Tour in the hotel and resort category. That agreement comes with an extensive advertising commitment that should raise the profile of Fort Worth’s tournament, which will be referenced in televised commercial spots.
“This is a fantastic day,” said Peter Ripa, Colonial tournament director. “It’s awesome … for us to maintain the partnership we’ve had with them as title sponsor through 2015.”
Financial terms were not announced. But the agreement brings long-term stability to a relationship that began in 2007. At that time, officials announced a six-year agreement for Crowne Plaza to be the tournament title sponsor, with an option for the hotel chain to leave after four years.
With the U.S. economy sagging, there was speculation that Crowne Plaza would exercise its option to back out of the agreement after the 2010 event. But during tournament week, Crowne Plaza officials agreed to a one-year extension and followed up with today’s announcement to push the agreement through 2015.
“Golf continues to be a great strategic fit for the Crowne Plaza brand and we are extremely proud to be extending our title sponsorship of the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial,” said Gina LaBarre, vice-president of brand delivery for IHG. “We’re particularly pleased to continue our relationship with the Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth and be associated with its 65 years of rich tradition.”
The 2011 tournament, which will mark the event’s 65th anniversary, will be May 16-22.
PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem said he was “delighted” by the extension and the opportunity to add IHG as an official marketing partner of the tour.
_ Jimmy Burch