C Spire to become presenting sponsor of Mississippi Gulf Resort Classic

September 12, 2013

BILOXI, Miss. – The Mississippi Gulf Resort Classic (MGRC), which has generated over $55 million for the regional economy and over $750,000 in assistance for local non-profit community charities since it began in 2010, will be staying on the Gulf Coast for the foreseeable future. 

C Spire, the company that got its start in the wireless communications business on the Mississippi Gulf Coast 25 years ago, has signed a three-year deal to be the presenting sponsor for the annual Champions Tour event, which will be held from March 17-23 next year at Fallen Oak in Biloxi.

The multi-million dollar sponsorship includes provisions for continued administration of the tournament through the MGRC Foundation along with additional funding from 14 other consortium partners comprised of prominent companies with operations along the Mississippi Gulf Coast.  C Spire also will continue as sponsor of the Thursday Pro-Am golf event held annually in conjunction with the tournament.

“We’re very pleased to step up our involvement in this tournament and to continue to support the Mississippi Gulf Coast, which has been so important to the success of our company for so many years,” said Kevin Hankins, COO for C Spire.  “The Gulf Coast is a special place and we want to be a part of showing the rest of the world all of its beauty, charm and Southern hospitality.” 

Hankins spoke during a news conference Thursday at the Ohr-O’Keefe Museum of Art to announce the agreement and was joined by Champions Tour and tournament executives, state and municipal elected officials and business and community leaders who have been involved in the event for the last four years.

“Our name - C Spire - literally comes from ‘customer-inspired’ and the importance we put on listening to and serving our customers,” Hankins added.  “We know the Champions Tour embraces a similar approach in all of its activities and programs involving players and fans – so this is a natural partnership for us.”

Roy Anderson III, Chairman of the non-profit MGRC Foundation and one of the 15 consortium partners, said C Spire’s decision to be the presenting sponsor is a reflection of the company’s continuing commitment to help the Mississippi Gulf Coast grow by showcasing its people, places and businesses.  “Whether it’s being a major sponsor of an event that will benefit our regional economy, providing great telecommunications services or helping us rebuild after a natural disaster, C Spire has always been there for the Mississippi Gulf Coast.,” he said.

Champions Tour President Mike Stevens said the MGRC tournament will continue to be one of the 26 Charles Schwab Cup events that determine the year’s best professional golfer over 50 years of age.  “Our players always enjoy coming to the Gulf Coast with its great food, fans and hospitality,” he said.  “These tournaments are great opportunities for fans to get up close and personal with some of the legendary golfers of our time.  We strive to make our events the most approachable,
accessible and fan-friendly in all of sports and we particularly appreciate C Spire stepping up to ensure that we will continue to have a tournament stop on the Mississippi Gulf Coast.”

Biloxi Mayor A. J. Holloway and Gulfport City Councilman Ricky Dombrowski said the tournament is a way for Gulf Coast communities to come together to support an event that benefits local hotels, restaurants, travel agencies, suppliers, entertainment venues and others who provide retail services used by players and golf fans. Since its inception, the tournament has generated over $750,000 in cash and in-kind services for non-profit, community-based charities, including over $300,000 alone for its primary beneficiary, the Habitat for Humanity of the Mississippi Gulf Coast. 

“All of us know the importance and value of this tournament to local businesses and many of the non-profit charities that provide critical assistance and services to a wide cross section of the population,” Holloway said.  “That’s why we all come together to promote the tournament and volunteer to work at the event.”

The three-day tournament is scheduled to air on the Golf Channel, the Tour’s exclusive cable-television partner, once again next year, exposing the Mississippi Gulf Coast and its attractions to a live national audience, according to Duncan McKenzie, chairman of the Mississippi Gulf Coast Convention and Visitors Bureau.  “The television exposure has the potential to reach 84 million homes in the U.S. and another 115 million households in 185 countries internationally,” McKenzie said.  “This event is a tremendous opportunity to showcase the Mississippi Gulf Coast to potential visitors and tourists.”
For more information on the 2014 MGRC tournament, please visit www.2014mgrc.com.