Place Ad
Contact Us

Farragut’s ‘Energy Classic’ a PGA first

If interest is indicated by event attendance, the newly re-branded Knoxville Open just may be played this year.

Patrick Nichol, tournament director, unveiled the Energy Corridor Classic at a sponsor’s forum Monday, Feb. 22, at Fox Den Country Club.

He spoke to more than 30 concerned citizens and businessmen, many of whom later indicated an interest in a sponsorship package.

“We want to re-brand the tournament under an energy theme to do something truly unique for this community,” Nichol said, adding the event would highlight the Knoxville-Oak Ridge energy corridor.

Justin Allen, PGA director of marketing, presented sponsors with the five-year plan for the event.

This year, if it gains enough sponsors, the PGA would simply launch the Energy Corridor Classic, positioning itself for future growth.

In 2011, Allen said the Tour would start pushing for a week-long Energy Expo with the Classic as its center point. The week could highlight advances as varied as solar golf carts and “green” clubhouse or home retrofits.

That year also would begin a focus on “business to business” relations, including forums, conferences and energy-related charitable donations and scholarships.

2012 would bring international televised coverage of the event and could bring player ambassadors.

Nichol said that since the Nissan Leaf is being tested in Knoxville, perhaps players could drive the vehicles and provide testimonials.

2013 would bring focused consumer sweeps and additional mobile marketing, and by 2014, Farragut would be home to “the most unique golf tournament across three tours,” Allen said.

“How can we pull this off in three months?” Nichol asked.

Well, that’s where the sponsors come in. He presented opportunities to sponsor in pre-designed packages of $50,000 or $20,000, but said the PGA would not rule out larger or smaller donations.

“We need all kinds of potatoes in this soup to make it work,” Nichol said.

“We are under a short and very crucial time frame,” he added.

Nichol estimated about $800,000 would cover the event’s operating costs and obligations and provide a “significant contribution” to charity.

The PGA Tour is a 501(c)(6) organization with Nationwide Tour stops in various cities across the nation and the globe. Those tournaments normally are operated by local 501(c)(3) entities.

“They really are, if you will, our franchisees,” Bill Calfee, PGA Tour COO, said.

“At the end of the day, all the net proceeds from that event stays in the community” and goes to local charities, he added.

After a few years of mismanagement, the PGA Tour has taken over the Knoxville Open, re-branding it as the Energy Corridor Classic.

Recently the Knoxville Open has not generated enough revenue to donate to its charities, “and that’s why we’re here,” Calfee said.

“We’re here to continue our partnership with Knoxville. It would be easy for us to walk away and go to another market. But, it wouldn’t be easy. We’ve been here 20 years,” Calfee told his Fox Den audience.

Calfee said he felt the PGA had “just touched the tip of the iceberg here.”

“Out of adversity can come great things. … There’s a wonderful opportunity to take this event to new heights,” he added.


News | Opinion | Sports | Business | Community | Schools | Obituaries | Announcements
Classifieds | Place Ad | Advertising | Contact Us | Archives | Search

© 2004-2017 farragutpress