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PGA Tour Has Room To Book Marketing Partnership With InterContinental Hotels

December 23, 2010: InterContinental Hotels Group has unwrapped a special holiday gift for the PGA Tour: A five-year deal beginning next year that makes IHG an official partner of the PGA Tour, Champions Tour and Nationwide Tour in the hotel and resort category. And as an added present, ICH's Crowne Plaza Hotels & Resorts division has extended its title sponsorship of the PGA Tour's Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial through 2015.

Financial terms of the deals were not disclosed.

Although its most visible golfer, Tiger Woods, is coming off a year of difficulties both on and off the greens, and the challenges of the current economy are still a major concern, PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem said during a season-end media conference on Dec. 9 that six new sponsors have been added on the PGA Tour level with "seven or eight renewals and several more on the horizon. We now have over 30% of PGA Tour title sponsorships extended beyond 2012. And so we made solid progress."

Going into 2011 the commissioner said that just two of 45 tournaments for next season lacked a corporate sponsor — the Bob Hope and The Heritage — but that all of the tournaments are "fully funded." 

Among recent marketing activity, the PGA Tour signed a deal under which United Airlines would replace long-time partner Delta as the official company in the category and another signaling General Motors' return after two years off the circuit due to financial problems. Among other sponsorship activation, GM's Cadillac will be back to sponsor the World Golf Championship this March in Miami via a six-year deal under which the event is being renamed the Cadillac Championship.

Other PGA Tour corporate partners include Anheuser-Busch, Bridgestone, Charles Schwab, Coca-Cola, Dow Chemical, FedEx, MasterCard and Nationwide Insurance. (Full list of corporate partners here.)

IHG said it would invest in such PGA Tour assets as media, special events, TPCs and charitable activities. PGATour.com will feature a "hotel finder" on the tournament pages that will allow fans to easily book hotel rooms at one of IHG's 4,500 properties when traveling to these events.

As an official marketing partner of the PGA Tour, IHG will provide a variety of benefits to players, including a designated number of room nights for players across all three Tours, platinum status in the Priority Club Rewards program for all members and preferred rates for all players, caddies, media partners and PGA Tour staff across all of IHG's brands. IHG said there would be additional benefits for players who participate in a special program that includes personal appearances with IHG guests at tournaments and/or use of their name and likeness.

"We are extremely pleased to announce this new long-term relationship with the PGA Tour, which includes extending our sponsorship of the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial," Jim Abrahamson, IHG president, The Americas, said in a statement. Crowne Plaza has served as title sponsor of the event since 2007. "This partnership provides a terrific opportunity for IHG to showcase all its eight brands and bring to life our award winning loyalty program for fans as well as the PGA Tour's membership base of players from around the world."

According to Finchem, "We are delighted to extend our tournament sponsorship with Crowne Plaza and to expand our relationship with InterContinental Hotels Group. The Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial is one of the most storied tournaments on the PGA Tour, as well as one of the leading tournaments in terms of charitable giving, and Crowne Plaza's sponsorship is important to continuing this legacy. Also, by welcoming IHG as an official marketing partner, our players — as well as their families and caddies — will receive valuable benefits and room options throughout the year."

"This partnership provides a terrific opportunity for IHG to showcase all its eight brands and bring to life our award winning loyalty program."

IHG's portfolio of hotel brands includes InterContinental Hotels & Resorts, Hotel Indigo, Crowne Plaza Hotels & Resorts, Holiday Inn Hotels and Resorts, Holiday Inn Express, Staybridge Suites and Candlewood Suites.

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