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March 20, 2019

Keith Robinson

Tracy West

Aaron Erter

Brian Oliver

Palm Harbor, Florida

TRACY WEST: Good morning and welcome. And thank you for joining us today. I'm Tracy West, Tournament Director for the Valspar Championship, and I know we're all looking forward to tomorrow's opening round as Paul Casey defends his title. Before turning our full attention to the competition, however, we have one very important order of business to attend to. For this, we are joined by several distinguished guests on stage: Aaron Erter, President Performance Coatings Group for the Sherwin-Williams Company, Brian Oliver Executive Vice President of Corporate Partnerships for the PGA TOUR, and Keith Robinson, General Chairman of the Copperheads.

Rob Lynch from Sherwin-Williams Group. Thank you, Rob, for being here. We're very pleased to have in the audience Sheila Johnson our gracious host here at Innisbrook and she's joined by I think Mike Williams is on his way, who is a Managing Director of Innisbrook. And we also have with us Hollis Cavner, who is the CEO and Presidents of Prolinks Sports. Thank you for being here. As you know Valspar has been a terrific partner of the tournament, the Copperheads and the PGA TOUR since 2014. Lending greatly to the stability and growth of the Valspar Championship. We're truly fortunate to have such a wonderful title sponsor that has become so fully engaged in the tournament. As productive as the past five years have been we can truly say that we are every bit as excited about the future of the Valspar Championship. With this not-so-subtle tease, I'm pleased to turn it over to Mr. Aaron Erter. Aaron.

AARON ERTER: All right. Well I think Tracy just stole my thunder. Hey, thank you, Tracy and thank you to your entire team for your hard work and dedication and making this such a wonderful success over the last six years. When we began this six years ago we had a vision about the tournament and what it could be for us and also for the community here. To look back and see all that's been accomplished in such a short time has been pretty remarkable. The growth of this tournament has been above our expectations. The media exposure, the field, the charitable impact, the economic impact, the success metrics go on and on. So to say we have been pleased with this is really an under statement. So many people have worked on this together to grow this tournament. People like you, Tracy, you, Hollis, the entire team, our employees with Valspar, and it's been, I think, rewarding for the fans as well. Great golf, it's been fan friendly, entertaining, and the sponsors have all been a part of this as well and working with us and it gets bigger and better every single year. So, the other people I would like to thank and have been a big part of this are the Copperheads. Keith, with your team, their fund raising, volunteering, it's truly inspiring to see the support of this tournament and what it means for the community here.


AARON ERTER: And then also the unsung heroes but the tournament couldn't really click without our volunteers. They always have a smile on their face, welcoming and really I think are ambassadors of our brand, which we're really proud of. And then the PGA TOUR pros for their willingness to commit to this tournament, even when they didn't know what it was, I remember them asking me, what is Valspar? And they know now. So, and then the Tampa Bay, the community really rallies behind this tournament and we couldn't be more proud to be a part of the community. So, with that said, and let me just say this, Valspar's very proud of the partnership with the PGA TOUR, not only because of the brand exposure that we have received over the years, but also because of the impact it's had on our relationship with our customers and our suppliers. Because of those reasons and I could go on and on, and I think everyone thinks that I was going to, it's an easy decision for us, so we're proud to announce that we're going to extend our partnership with the PGA TOUR as title sponsor of the Valspar Championship through 2025.


AARON ERTER: So we look forward to continuing to raise the bar with our sponsorship and making an even greater impact in the Tampa Bay community for many years to come. So thank you.

TRACY WEST: It is us, Aaron, that thank you and thank everyone at Valspar and Sherwin-Williams for everything that you do for us. So thank you. We're obviously thrilled with this commitment and we very much look forward to our collaboration continuing through 2025. So thank you very much.

It's now my please to introduce or reintroduce I should say Brian Oliver of the PGA TOUR and Brian, would you like to say a few words, please?

BRIAN OLIVER: I would, please, and thank you Tracy and thank you Aaron for that great announcement. Thank you Sheila for hosting us today and Keith for all you and Copperheads Charities do too. For you to make this such a tremendous success on the PGA TOUR. Tracy, you used the word thrilled, I'm thrilled to be here on an important morning an important day for this championship, for the PGA TOUR, for the Tampa Bay community. On behalf of the TOUR we could not be more proud of the growth and the impact that this championship has made in the time since Valspar has been title sponsor since 2014 and through your leadership and Hollis's leadership here in the Tampa Bay area. And Aaron we're so grateful for your continued commitment through 2025. When you look at the attributes of a successful relationship with a title sponsor, this event and our relationship with Sherwin-Williams and Valspar hits them all. You have embraced this community as your own and the Copperhead Charities and their mission as your own. This tournament and championship has become core to how you engage your customers and how you bring your brand to market. And how you engage fans across the PGA TOUR. We're really grateful for that. It was just a short period ago where your business went through a significant acquisition and it's natural and appropriate at that time to evaluate everything that the company does and for you to at that point further engage with Sherwin-Williams coming on as the presenting sponsor and now to be here today talking about an extension through 2025 is an incredible moment and we're really grateful. And you've created a unique event on the PGA TOUR. Obviously this event is hosted at a great championship course, one that our players truly love, but you've put your own personality on it and you don't have to spend too much time walking around to understand why this is the most colorful event on the PGA TOUR in the world. So thank you and it's also exciting to be here to announce today not only the extension of your relationship as title sponsor to the Valspar Championship but also our relationship as an official marketing partner of the PGA TOUR and continuation of your caddie hat program. So thank you to each of you for all you do to make this event a great success, it's truly a fantastic partnership.

TRACY WEST: Thank you, Brian. So now to add some additional excitement to this morning, the PGA TOUR and us have prepared a fun little video that we would like to show.

(Video played.)

TRACY WEST: Paul has been a wonderful defending champion and in the video it shows a couple kids in a couple of the large oversized Adirondack chairs that we have out on the course. If you have not checked out social media last night there was Paul Casey and Sergio Garcia climbed in one of the chairs and they look like two little kids sitting in these chairs. So make sure you check that out.

So to close out our program I would like to invite Keith Robinson, who again is the general chairman of this tournament and President of the Copperhead Charities to say a few words. Keith.

KEITH ROBINSON: Thank you, Tracy. This is indeed a historic day for Tampa Bay and for our Copperheads and for our community. As Valspar continues to be our longest running title sponsor since this event became a full field PGA TOUR event in 2000. We used to call it a tournament, we now call it an event because it's a lot more than just golf. Through Valspar's generous support and commitment the Copperheads are able to meet our four point mission statement of operating a world class golf tournament, making a positive economic impact on the local area, highlighting the Tampa Bay region during our telecast and most importantly helping us generate significant charitable dollars for our local community. Aaron, we can't thank you enough, we are so grateful for Valspar, our partnership and our continued success in all we strive to do. Thank you again. This is awesome. This is an awesome day. Thank you.

TRACY WEST: It is an awesome day. Thank you, Keith and thank you again Aaron and Brian. So we're obviously thrilled again I keep using that word but we're thrilled to share this news with everyone today and to know that this great partnership is in place through 2025 and with that I would be happy to open it up for questions from the audience.

Q. Aaron, just out of curiosity when you came on board in '14 what were you expecting and what surprised you?
AARON ERTER: Yeah, the question is what were we expecting and what surprised us. Look, I think the No. 1 thing we wanted to do when we signed on is we were building a brand with Valspar. I think that what surprised us is we built a brand but also we have done a lot more and our goals have changed. Building a brand was No. 1 but then it was, it's giving back to the community. If we look at the impact that we have made with the Copperheads from a charitable standpoint it's been significant. What we try to do as an organization is raise the bar and exceed that each and every year. So it was building a brand but now it's having an event, right, and making an impact, a total impact on the community.

Q. Brian, you guys are having a pretty good success getting a lot of long-term sponsorships with a lot of tournaments. I'm sure that was part of the game plan, but with the longer tournament commitments were they part of the strategy or just kind of talk about what's going on, it seems kind of bullish.
BRIAN OLIVER: Yeah, it is. We're very fortunate we have obviously a great stable of partners. You're exactly right, part of our strategy that we set out, probably beginning in 2013, was to talk with our partners about a longer term partnership. So if you look back in our title sponsorship business, in 2013 we didn't have any title sponsors of 10 years in length. Today we have 10. The average length of a title sponsorship on the PGA TOUR in that time period has gone up from five years to about six and a half years. So it was absolutely a conscious strategy, but it takes willing partners. And we don't take for granted in today's corporate environment what it takes to make a long-term commitment when companies need to be nimble and companies need to have flexibility. So we're very grateful for the commitment our partners are making to us and also view it as a strength, a sign of the strength of the PGA TOUR as a platform to help great companies like Valspar and Sherwin-Williams achieve their business goals.

Q. Tracy, does the contract extension have any language about the date? Could you guys move or are you locked into this date or how would you address that?
TRACY WEST: Sure, so with any contract with the PGA TOUR you're you only have 12 months, so basically you're told your dates for the next year really pretty much during your tournament week of that existing year. So I mean there's been some general discussions but we're not locked into anything, we're always at the, I don't want to say the whim, but we're always at the discretion of the PGA TOUR.

Q. What about -- so do you know for next year even?
TRACY WEST: Yes, I know our next year's dates.

Q. What are they?
TRACY WEST: Can I say? Same week. Same week in 2020.

Q. But at some point as the calendar shifts a little bit and right now we have an extra day -- well the Masters is as late as it could be played, would you be amenable to moving to post-Masters or do you like where you are now?
TRACY WEST: I think for us March, April, any of those dates are great. We sell paint in the spring. So when we're in the spring, we're happy. I don't think we need to be in March, I think we could be in April, certainly those are ongoing discussions, but I don't want to fully speak, but from a Copperhead charity standpoint, and I think Aaron would agree, from a Valspar standpoint, we're happy to be part of the spring schedule.

Q. Aaron, why was it important when Sherwin-Williams acquired Valspar to leave Valspar on the name of this?
AARON ERTER: Yeah, it was important for to us leave Valspar because I think we established a lot of equity with Valspar. If you ask anyone, this tournament is the Valspar. So the equity that we have built up we just wanted to continue. The other thing is, Valspar's one of our hero brands within our lineup of brands within Sherwin-Williams. It's the No. 1 brand that we sell through other retailers, like Lowe's, Ace Hardware?

Q. To be clear, the winner when he gets his house painted does it matter what brand he uses?
AARON ERTER: They will use something from the Sherwin-Williams Company, which could include Valspar.


TRACY WEST: We highly encourage them.

Q. Aaron, you're not a Tampa Bay based company and then now you're part of the Tampa Bay fabric, some thoughts on what has happened in the last five years between Valspar and Tampa Bay.
AARON ERTER: Yeah, sure, well the governor was here Monday and I mentioned to him we were from Cleveland and we really like the weather here. But, look, Tampa Bay has become like home to us, right? I know me personally I have family here, so it's always felt like home, but just the relationships we have established within the community means so much, just like anything in life I think you establish those relationships and you care about what happens within the community those people live and that's how we feel. Whether we're out with habitat for humanity helping in the Tampa Bay community or whatever it is, this is like home to us and it means a lot to us.

TRACY WEST: I would like to expound on what Aaron said, I mean they truly have such a great commitment to this area and we're so thrilled with that and we do try and make sure that we're part of the community on a year round basis. It's not just tournament week, we work to build homes, we have built our fourth home, we'll build a fifth home this summer with Habitat and they're constantly involved in the community and doing different things all the different support that they provide Habitat our multiple charities throughout the year, it's really impressive and I think there's so many people in this area that are touched by your investment and your support of this event. All right. Well, thank you very much for your time and we hope you're equally as excited as we are with this morning's announcements. Thank you all.

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