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March 9, 2016
Palm Harbor, Florida
TRACY WEST: Thank you, Rick. Rick Odioso, our you long time Media Director. Thank you, Rick, for getting us started. Welcome everybody.
We're thrilled to have you here. We do have some fun business to get to but before we do that I want to just say a couple words.
I know that you think that you're here for Jordan Spieth but we obviously have a special announcement that we're going to get to.
I want to thank each of you for not only being here this week but really for the terrific coverage that you give us all year-round and all throughout the years. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts and thank you for everything you do to give the tournament the recognition that it deserves.
The Valspar Championship, we've certainly grown in stature over the years. We're very excited about where we are, not only with our charitable and economic impact that we have on the region but really delivering a world class tournament to this area which brings up the quality of life for everybody living in the Tampa Bay region. We're very proud of that fact.
We expect this year to be no different. In fact, we expect this year to be our best year ever, not only with having a terrific field led by our defending champion, Jordan, but with the amount of excitement that we're generating in the local marketplace, not only from our sponsorships are significantly up this year from a corporate prospective, in addition to our ticket sales.
We expect some really big crowds. So weather looks like it's going to cooperate but we expect some terrific crowds to come see Jordan and I think those folks called Rascal Flatts as well on Thursday. We're excited about that.
We're also thrilled about the new Copperhead restoration and thank Sheila Johnson very much for everything that you and your organization have done to get this wonderful, wonderful gem of a golf course.
So, thank you.
And also, in addition to recognizing Sheila -- Sheila, please wave to everybody. Sheila Johnson the owner of Innisbrook.
I have a couple other special people that I would like to introduce and thank them for being here. Our immediate past General Chairman, Larry Morgan. Thank you for your leadership over the last several years. Thank you for everything that you've done.
Larry and Copperhead and our Board have led the tournament through some interesting times over the last couple years and stewarded us through some significant situations that now have grown into a wonderful tournament. So, thank you Larry very much.
I'd also like to recognize Marcus Greene from BB&T. Marcus, thank you. As most of you know BB&T serves as our local presenting sponsor and we appreciate everything that you do, everyone at your team for everything that you do for the tournament.
Thank you, Marcus.
Hollis Cavner. He's our Executive Director for the tournament as well as the CEO of Pro Link Sports, and a tremendous leadership for this tournament and give us great vision that we are honored to follow. Thank you, Hollis, for everything that you do.
In addition, we do have some additional folks from the Tour here. Ed Moorehouse, Tod Wade, Andy Pazner, please, wave your hands. Thank you for being here with us as well.
So, with that said, I have some wonderful special guests that I'd like to introduce. We have Gary Hendrickson, the Chairman and CEO of Valspar Corporation, our title sponsor. Welcome, Gary.
Most of you also know Deputy Commissioner Jay Monahan for the PGA TOUR, Jay Monahan, and our fearless leader from Copperhead Charities, the General Chairman of this year's tournament, Les Muma.
So with that said, I think Gary has some fun news to share. Gary.
GARY HENDRICKSON: Thanks, Tracy. Tracy did I think a really good job of explaining what a positive impact this tournament has had locally and in the Tampa Bay area.
We're really proud of our ability to sponsor the tournament. It's been great for Valspar as well. We think it's a fantastic place to showcase our brand and our products. We invite a lot of our customers here.
In fact, this week we probably have 600 of our Valspar customers representing maybe three-quarters of our revenue in North America that they're having a fabulous time and many of them on the golf course right now playing the Pro-Am.
So, it's been good. It's been good for all of the Valspar stakeholders as well as the local stakeholders.
We've decided to extend our sponsorship. We initially signed a four year sponsorship agreement with the Tour that would have run through 2017. Couple of weeks ago Jay, Les and I signed an agreement that extends the Valspar sponsorship through 2020 20.
We're very happy and excited about that.
The Tour has been great to work with. Sheila, thank you, and your team have been terrific to work with. Tracy has done a magnificent job. We're excited, we're happy, we really want to continue to make the sort of progress we've made on this tournament and we want this -- we're calling it a Top-5 tournament, Jay, on Tour.
LES MUMA: We're going to get there.
GARY HENDRICKSON: We're already there. We're going the try to get to No. 1.
JAY MONAHAN: I have no doubt.
TRACY WEST: Thank you.
JAY MONAHAN: Gary, thank you very much. Just a couple of comments.
Since the moment that Valspar stepped forward to serve as title sponsor it's been very clear that they were a hundred percent committed to Tampa Bay, to this tournament and growing their business through the tournament. They are the epitome of a great partner.
And you see firsthand this most colorful tournament put to life as you walk these grounds. If you ask yourself what are they really saying, they're also saying that they're the most vibrant, they're vibrant in terms of the way that they have engaged their employees, their partners, this community, the players getting great feedback, the venue working closely with Sheila and the team.
If you look back to that point in time in 2013 where we were uncertain as to who the future title would be and you look at where we are today, there's been nothing but incredible progress.
Everything that Valspar has touched has been positive and has been represented in the growth that we've achieved here today.
So, Gary, thanks for your leadership. Thank you for your commitment. This is an extraordinarily proud day for all of us.
I also want to recognize the Copperheads and Les and the team, an organization that's been involved with professional golf for 40 years, with the PGA TOUR for the last 16.
They, too, have done nothing but put their heart and soul into this tournament and supported Valspar and supported the great community that they're so very proud of.
Also wanted to thank again BB&T, play such an important role in the Valspar Championship presented by BB&T. We're very thankful for your commitment to this event and to Sheila, to Sheila Johnson and to this entire facility.
As Tracy noted, the investment that she's made in the restoration of this golf course and the investment that -- investments she's made since taking this property, taking over this property has been exceptional and I think she and her team should take great pride in this announcement today because without that I'm not certain we'd be here today.
Thank you so much.
Then finally Hollis Cavner and Tracy, again, we'll use the word heart and soul. That's what these tournaments are all about. They have been great partners and I think 90 new companies are involved in this event this year, 90.
That doesn't just happen. That comes with great team work and great commitment and great vision and, you know, if Top-5 is the goal, I have no doubt that the Tour, it would be our commitment to support it will continue to do everything we can to elevate this great championship.
I'm going the take one quick moment because this is actually a very personal for me because my aunt, my Godmother Sue Rooney volunteered here for 13 years. She passed away in July.
When I look back to 2013, she was over there in caddy registration, used to sell the caddy yardage books. When we were without a title going to 2014 -- my family spends the month of July together in our houses -- our house is next to Sue's house.
Everyday she would ask me where we were with the title sponsors. She's looking down upon us all with a big smile today.
I think it's a reflection on all the people that make these great events happen. She played some small role and I'm proud of that and this is a great day.
With that said, I want to turn it over to Les to make a few comments. Thank you. Les.
LES MUMA: Thank you. I just wanted to say, first of all, this is truly an exciting day for the Copperheads, for Pro Link Sports, Tracy and her team, 2,000 volunteers that are here everyday during the tournament that we couldn't make this tournament happen without them.
It's exciting for all of us. Exciting for Sheila. I was talking to her in the lobby. She likes this partnership we put together. It's great to have her and her team behind us.
I will say about Valspar the company, they are the ideal sponsor. They're in this a hundred percent. They love the game, they love what the game does for their company. They love what the game does for our area giving money back. It's just the right partner to have.
One other thing I would add, I am ecstatic about the fact this is the first time this tournament ever had a title sponsor extend their agreement. That's hard to believe but that's true.
And I can assure that is very, very important as we go out and sell companies to join sponsorships here, one of the first things they ask me is Valspar going to extend, because they want the continuity.
This will help us sign two and three and four and five year contracts with our sponsors because they know we're going to be here and continue to flourish. It's a great day for all of us.
I would add one thing about BB&T. BB&T is with us through '17. After this, right after this tournament ends and we get this behind us, we'll start working with BB&T to extend that relationship. We're coming after you.
TRACY WEST: No pressure, Marcus.
LES MUMA: We look forward to this week. The weather looks like it's getting better on Sunday now. All the forecasts are looking good. The golf course is beautiful. The players are happy with it, the Copperheads are glad to be here and be involved.
It's lot of fun.
TRACY WEST: We thank each of you. We'd be happy to open it up for some questions before Jordan arrives. Anyone has any questions?
Q. Jay, does it ever allow for the order of the events in Florida to change? How does the contract work with that? Is the date set or can it change?
JAY MONAHAN: There's generally a timeframe that we designate in the contract for when the event will be played but there is no specific mechanism in the agreement that talks about a future date change.
We'll continue to work closely with Gary, the Copperheads and we'll continue to take the date that they're in, which they're doing an exceptional job with.
If you look at the momentum behind the tournament, I think you'll continue to see the growth that we're expecting and hopefully we'll get Gary and the team not only pleased with the return but seeing even greater returns in the years that they've extended.
Q. Speaking of that, Gary, I'm curious when you guys jumped in in '14 what were you expecting in terms of a return and has anything surprised you over last few years?
GARY HENDRICKSON: So the question was what did we expect when we jumped in in 2014 and in terms of return to Valspar?
We expected, and it's proved out to be this way, that our brand was going to be enabled and enhanced by this sponsorship.
If you look at the other title sponsors on Tour they're all fantastic companies. They're all larger than us. We may be the smallest in terms of revenue title sponsor that's out there.
We thought that just being with -- being associated with the Tour and being lumped into that group of exceptional companies, that it would be a great enabler to our brand. That's a hard thing to measure.
You can measure brand awareness and things like that. We needed a return on our investment and, you know, so we measure that in terms of the new business that we generated through this tournament.
As I mentioned earlier, we had about 600 customers are here with us this week. Not all of those customers are currently doing business with Valspar but our hope is, is that through the great experience that they have here -- and this has proven to be true -- that we're going to open new business relationships, we're going to do more business with those customers and that's part of the way that we get our return.
The actual advertising that happens during the tournament has value. So, you're going to see -- you might get sick of seeing the Valspar chameleons if you watch the Golf Channel, the Valspar advertising that we do during the tournament and then our agreement also calls for a commitment of advertising through the rest of the year for the Valspar brand.
So, we're getting a return on that that we can actually measure. So you put those things together just the return that we're getting on the advertising, which is measurable, the return that we're getting through new customer relationships and enabling expanded customer relationships, you put -- you do that, and this has been a very positive return for Valspar shareholders. That's what we had hoped when we signed the agreement and that's the way it's proved to be.
Q. Any surprises? Any bonuses?
GARY HENDRICKSON: It's all been a bonus. You know, honestly, I didn't know what to expect but the first time that me and my team felt the same way, I'm sure the first time we showed up at this place and saw the Valspar Championship and in all these different colors and the way the golf course was turned out, it took our breath away, and it's only gotten better.
This is year three and year three is a lot better than year one and I expect 2020 is going to be -- who knows what is going to happen. But yes, so it's all -- all the surprises have been positive surprises. Been no negatives at all.
LES MUMA: They're going to renew again in 2020.
Q. Gary, what can you say about the local event here locally, the fans, the area in general, the weather and how that fits into advancing your business model? International exposure is great.
What do they bring here locally that you like?
GARY HENDRICKSON: So this is the start of paint season. This timing of this event -- someone asked whether we're going to change the timing. I hope we're not changing the timing because in the North you're coming out of winter and people are thinking about staining their decks. We have a great product called Cabot Stain, which is sold in virtually every retailer and will be some Cabot advertising this week as well.
People are starting to think about staining their deck, painting the outside of their house. It's the perfect time for a paint company to be advertising.
In terms of the support that we've gotten from the local community, it's been phenomenal.
Maybe that's another positive surprise. We didn't know what to expect from the partnerships that we essentially bought into here. The support from the Copperheads had been phenomenal.
The local community loves us. Feels like they love us. We feel like we're loved here. Tracy mentioned ticket sales. We talked a little bit about this last night. Last year ticket sales were up I think about 50 percent over the previous year and this year so far they're up 45 percent over that large number.
And so that's just another indication of the kind of support that we're getting from the local community. It's been phenomenal.
TRACY WEST: Any other questions? Going once, going twice. All right. Gary, Jay, Les, thank you very much.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports