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WGC ACCENTURE MATCH PLAY CHAMPIONSHIP


February 22, 2012


Tim Finchem

Mike Glenn


MARANA, ARIZONA

LAURA HILL:テつ Good morning, thanks to everyone for joining us early this morning.テつ I'd like to welcome Commissioner Tim Finchem to the interview room, and also on the phone we have Mike Glenn who is executive vice‑president of market development at FedEx.テつ At this time I'll turn it over to Tim for a special announcement.
COMMISSIONER TIMOTHY W. FINCHEM:テつ Thank you for being here this morning very early.テつ Good morning, Mike.テつ Welcome to Accenture.テつ We're excited about the matches today.テつ I know we have an early start and I know this is an inconvenient time for some of you getting ready to cover those matches.テつ But we are looking forward to a good week this week.テつ We are off to a fantastic start to the season.テつ A lot of great finishes, and we expect more of the same kind of excitement this week.
This morning we're excited to announce a five‑year extension to FedEx extension to the FedExCup.テつ We are absolutely delighted with the opportunity to make this announcement.テつ FedEx has evaluated this very hard over the last five years, watched it closely.テつ We've seen it grow.テつ It's become a big part of what the PGA TOUR is all about.テつ It has had the effect of pulling our season together.テつ We're going to try to make some adjustments in the next couple of years to do that with the FedExCup in an even more impactful way.
I think the two things that jump out at me as I look at this extension, which takes us‑‑ they're currently through '12, so this takes us out through '17, is that, first of all, it's great continuity, and it allows us to continue to build what the FedExCup is all about, in a continuous fashion, which drives value for everybody, including FedEx.
And secondly, it really covers now‑‑ we're covered about 60 percent of our new television agreement.テつ So that's very, very good, as well.テつ And it is a nice addition to the things that have been happening that layout our future in a very positive way that allows us to build the Tour domestically and internationally.
In each of these five years, we've seen a growth in the interest of the fans, certainly more involvement and commitment on the part of the players.テつ But I think the hallmark is great, great play, a lot of pressure, great play and great shot‑making, great finishes punctuated by the great finishes we had this year.
With that I'll turn it over to Mike Glenn.テつ Mike, as I turn this over to you, I just want to thank you and your team, not just for the decision to commitment to this for another five years, but also for the work that's been done by all of your marketing team to build what the FedExCup is.テつ When we announced this five years ago or six years ago that this was going to happen, we talked about the caliber of your sports marketing operation and why we thought FedEx was the perfect partner.テつ We haven't been disappointed in that regard.テつ It's been a fantastic relationship, and I want to thank you personally and your team for your effort.
MIKE GLENN:テつ Thank you, Commissioner.テつ I wish I could be there in person with you today.テつ Let me say on behalf of the more than 300,000 members at FedEx, I'm thrilled to share in this announcement today.テつ Our extension of the FedExCup sponsorship is just another step in a long‑standing relationship with the PGA TOUR that goes back more than 25 years.テつ Being part of the PGA TOUR certainly instills pride in our team members and supports our global brand and connects with our customers in a very special way.テつ Plus the Tour's leadership when it comes to charitable giving makes the Tour a perfect fit for our FedEx culture, and we certainly look forward to continuing to build on the success of the FedExCup as we further integrate our marketing efforts with the Tour.
Thank you again, Commissioner, for letting me be a part of this announcement in Tucson today.
LAURA HILL:テつ At this time we'll take questions from those here in the room and the media center, and then go to the phone lines after that.

Q.テつ Are the financials going to be about the same?テつ I think it's 35 million a year roughly into the prize purse and distribution.テつ Are there any tweakings north or south in that regard?
COMMISSIONER TIMOTHY W. FINCHEM:テつ We will have some growth in the term overall in the Cup.テつ How that plays out in terms of the distribution of dollars we're not sure, but we're certainly going forward, not backwards during this term.テつ We'll also be expending some dollars in other ways to support the Cup and promote it in addition to what we've done in the past.テつ And we are looking carefully, as I've said a lot in the last year, as you know, about the digital applications that become available to us in the new television agreements and certainly the FedExCup is going to play a lot into that.テつ Some of that has yet to be worked out.テつ But financially to the players, we will be growing during this term.

Q.テつ I'm guessing it will be roughly ten million?
COMMISSIONER TIMOTHY W. FINCHEM:テつ In the immediate future that structure will remain in place, yeah, ten million dollars to the winner.

Q.テつ This is for Mike.テつ Mike, was there any hesitations or concerns in regards to the proposal that the Tour has right now about extending the season out and starting in the fall, basically making this a year‑round Tour?
MIKE GLENN:テつ We're very pleased with the Tour's decision to extend the season and allow the FedExCup to be a year‑round competition.テつ That was an important part of our discussions, and we were very happy with the outcome.
COMMISSIONER TIMOTHY W. FINCHEM:テつ Although we're not finished with those discussions yet.テつ But clearly if we go in that direction, it generates more value to‑‑ it makes the FedExCup bigger, and it generates more value to FedEx.テつ But this agreement is not contingent on that in any way happening.テつ We're moving down that road and we're feeling better and better about the possibilities.

Q.テつ You got the TV deal done and your contracts lined up for another four years; this one is in the house.テつ It looks like the Nationwide Q‑School thing is heading towards completion.テつ I'm wondering what else is on your to do list.テつ What's the top of your to do list right now?テつ Those are some big issues that have been crossed off.
COMMISSIONER TIMOTHY W. FINCHEM:テつ When we have another moment, I'll be happy to lay out for you six or eight key things that are going to dominate a lot of my time over the next two or three years.
We have still sponsorship issues.テつ We have Nationwide Tour sponsorship.テつ We have some tournament issues.テつ We have sponsorship on the other Tours.テつ We have International work.テつ One of our major goals is this digital applications for the next couple of years.テつ So there's a lot out there.テつ We're looking forward to it.

Q.テつ This one's for Mike.テつ Mike, it seems like we media guys talk a lot about the point structure.テつ It's been tweaked a few times over the years.テつ I'm wondering whether in your mind it's where you guys like it or you'd like to see it simplified or how FedEx views the confusing finale sometimes in terms of understanding what's at stake for the dollars you guys are putting up?
MIKE GLENN:テつ Well, I would say we make tremendous progress in the point system over the last several years.テつ And I can only point to the last two years when we literally felt the winner changed shot by shot on Sunday, which is what the experts would really like to have happen every year.テつ And the drama that plays itself out now at the Tour championship and particularly on Sunday, when literally the winner hangs in the balance of the very next shot, that is probably best illustrated by Bill Haas's shot out of the water on 17.テつ I don't know how much more drama we can get.テつ And I think the changes in the point system have really contributed to that.
Are there opportunities to improve it further?テつ Perhaps.テつ But we're pretty pleased with where it is right now.

Q.テつ Tim, obviously you've heard over the years the critics of the FedExCup.テつ Where do you think in the years that you've had this structure now that you've answered the critics the best?テつ Where do you feel the most comfortable in saying, no, you know, that's not necessarily the way it is, this is going pretty good.テつ What's worked the best, do you think?
COMMISSIONER TIMOTHY W. FINCHEM:テつ Well, I think that, first of all, we don't ever want to really totally answer all the criticism, because criticism means controversy, and controversy means people talk about it.テつ And like I've said many times, everybody complains about the BCS, but the BCS keeps college football in the conversation.
But I think the fundamental thing is the right players have won the competition.テつ I think if you look back at each of those years, the player who played the best and played a lot and played the best through the FedExCup won.テつ Certainly without question the players who played the best were in position to win in Atlanta.テつ And I think the structure gets us to that point.
There are different ways to do it.テつ As Mike just said, we've been looking at, for example, the volatility that occurs when you start the playoffs.テつ And we do have some concerns about that.テつ We've just determined to watch it yet for another year.
But there are some things in the system that we need to look at.テつ And there are other things that we should look at.テつ Generally we don't think that it's a big deal if you tinker with it and change it from time to time.テつ We just determined that after we got it to a point, we'd take a break and continue to monitor it and see how it works.テつ And it's worked well.テつ But I think we should keep our minds open about changes in the future and listen to people.テつ I don't view it as critical, but I think it's commentary and input in terms of different ways to do it.
This is a system that there's no black and white, right or wrong way to do it.テつ There's lots of different ways to do it.テつ We like this way, generally, but we'll continue to look at it.

Q.テつ One thing, you're talking about integration, both you and Mike have talked about that.テつ Could you see a scenario over this five‑year period where you would eliminate the Money List completely and just use FedExCup points as the system going forward?
COMMISSIONER TIMOTHY W. FINCHEM:テつ Well, maybe.テつ I think we certainly have already seen without doing much just the focus is on‑‑ if you're going to talk about comparative, competitive performance during the year, more and more and more you're looking at the FedExCup points list and not money.
And honestly, the points list is based on a relative impact of tournaments that's very much in line with what players think about tournaments.テつ For example, the major championships do not carry prize money at the levels of a number of non‑major tournaments.テつ So if you think the majors are the most important, if you think The Players is important, if you think WGC is important, money‑‑ the money system doesn't tell you performance based on that comparative of tournaments, whereas the point system does.テつ You may argue that comparatively it's different.テつ But it's structured that way.
So moving in that direction is something we're very comfortable with.テつ Money has been around as a comparative a long time and it probably should always be a factor.テつ But it's already been de‑emphasized without us doing much about it.テつ We'll keep an eye on it and see where we go the next few years.

Q.テつ You speak about the future.テつ What can you say about the future of the Match Play Championship remaining here at the Ritz?
COMMISSIONER TIMOTHY W. FINCHEM:テつ Being here?テつ You mean being played here?

Q.テつ Correct.
COMMISSIONER TIMOTHY W. FINCHEM:テつ Well, our plan is, at least at this moment at least through '14 to be here, because that's our‑‑ that's kind of our agreement set up.テつ We keep our options open like we do with every tournament.テつ We evaluate things every year.テつ Probably 60 percent of the Tour we're always looking at different places.テつ Not necessarily different markets, but certainly other golf facilities as they come on line.テつ We always keep our flexibility.
But right now we've had great support here.テつ The players have reacted well to the golf course.テつ And the weather is pretty good.テつ So right now we're going down that road.テつ But we just don't like to commit ourselves much into the future.テつ But that's certainly our plan right now.

Q.テつ So if the Q‑School, Nationwide, wraparound season thing is pushed back a year, are you looking at running the Nationwide next year without a title sponsor?テつ And‑‑
COMMISSIONER TIMOTHY W. FINCHEM:テつ If it's pushed back a year‑‑

Q.テつ Well, I think initially the discussion was that it would start next year.
COMMISSIONER TIMOTHY W. FINCHEM:テつ Well, the current plan that's moving, unless something happens, will move to board consideration this spring, does call for it to start next year.

Q.テつ Can you run the Nationwide without a title sponsor?
COMMISSIONER TIMOTHY W. FINCHEM:テつ Oh, yeah, we can.テつ There's two problems with that.テつ One, it's very expensive, and two, it's important to have a sponsor because a sponsor brings a lot of additional promotion and support and communication about that and does a lot of things around the edges with television that makes a more vibrant presentation.テつ So it's certainly not a direction we want to go down.テつ But we had a really great fit with Nationwide and we want a great fit.テつ We want something that works really well.テつ FedEx is a perfect sponsor for the FedExCup.テつ We're looking for the perfect sponsor for Nationwide.テつ It's taking some time.
LAURA HILL:テつ Commissioner and Mr. Glenn, thank you for joining us.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




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