CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Looks like the West Virginia Development Office is re-upping to be a major sponsor for the 2013 Greenbrier Classic PGA golf tournament, writing a $500,000 "down payment" check on Wednesday.
As in the past two years, the state has paid its $1.85 million fee to be a presenting sponsor of the tournament in installments -- which, among other things, allows the cost to be spread out over two budget years.
Commerce Secretary Keith Burdette says the sponsorship is a good investment for the state, providing days of unfettered access to business prospects, as well as an opportunity to provide a thank you to businesses that have located in the state.
"Every client we bring here, we get to spend at least a couple of days with, and usually longer than that, three or four days," he said. "We get to have a lot of time with these guys, and talk about a lot of business opportunities."
Burdette said plans are to tweak the state's sponsorship a little this year by giving the Division of Tourism a greater role, including hosting national tourism writers at the tournament.
"We are going to put a lot more emphasis this year on tourism outreach," he said.
In past years, Tourism has had a promotional display at the tournament.
Burdette said coverage of the tournament on the Golf Channel and on CBS is itself a showcase for tourism, with frequent commentary and video segments referencing the state's scenic beauty and tourism opportunities.
"You can't buy that type of positive publicity for the state," Burdette said.
(If you could, the price might be around $5.1 million, which is what the state has paid to Old White Charities since 2011 to be a tournament sponsor.)
This year's tournament runs July 1-7 (and Burdette said he's keeping his fingers crossed that Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson will make the cut this year...
Meanwhile, as one might suspect, the Greenbrier Classic is a major money loser.
According to the most recent IRS 990 filed by Old White Charities, the 2011 tournament produced total revenue of $19,528,290, and had total expenses of $25,005,628, resulting in a net loss of $5.44 million.
Tournament expenses came in at $9.76 million, while "other" was the largest expense category at $10.8 million. Travel costs amounted to $1.936 million, while management costs were $680,267. Advertising and promotional costs were $321,478.