Enhancements continue to elevate season-ending drama of TOUR Championship
Coca-Cola and Southern Company support commercial-free new finishing stretch
August 10, 2016
- August 10, 2016
- A look at the new finishing hole at East Lake Golf Club. (Chris Condon/PGA TOUR)
ATLANTA – PGA TOUR officials today announced enhancements that will continue the ongoing momentum and incredible growth of the FedExCup as the finale for the ultimate season prize that will heighten the drama at the season-ending TOUR Championship at East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta on September 25.
Through the increased support of Coca-Cola and Southern Company, the final three hours of the broadcast, including the entire back nine featuring the final groups, will air free of national commercials, allowing shot-by-shot viewing as the final FedExCup Playoffs event draws to an end on NBC. The enhanced broadcast component is the result of renewal agreements that will lift Southern Company and Coca-Cola to the elite designation of Proud Partners of the TOUR Championship, a distinction reserved for golf’s biggest events. The agreement secures Coca-Cola and Southern Company together as partners through 2020.
This follows the previous announcement that the front and back nine holes at East Lake Golf Club will be reversed for the TOUR Championship, providing significantly more drama on the finishing holes from past years. The final five holes, in particular, will have more potential for lead changes and provide more risk-reward opportunities and the 18th hole now a challenging par 5 rather than a long par 3.
“We continue to explore ways to magnify the drama as our season draws to an end, and we believe these changes will greatly enhance the overall fan experience, whether at East Lake or following the coverage. The entire PGA TOUR season, over 1.4 million swings by our players, comes down to the back nine on Sunday at the TOUR Championship. We want to make sure that fans watching our broadcast don’t miss a shot,” said PGA TOUR Commissioner Tim Finchem. “We are excited to present this enhanced broadcast coverage of the TOUR Championship’s conclusion, which will be further enriched with the reversal of the nines at East Lake.
“We are particularly grateful to Coca-Cola and Southern Company for their continued and elevated support of the TOUR Championship. As Atlanta-based companies, their longstanding commitment to the tournament reflects their investment in and passionate support of their home community. Now, as we strive to continue the growth and impact of the TOUR Championship, their newly defined roles as Proud Partners will play a critical role in further elevating the tournament’s stature in the coming years.”
As Proud Partners, Coca-Cola and Southern Company will share preeminent branding at East Lake, receive acknowledgment as the exclusive Proud Partners on all tournament promotion and marketing initiatives, and during the telecasts on Golf Channel and NBC, including on broadcast leaderboards and vignettes. The final three hours of branding on PGA TOUR Digital platforms will also be dedicated to the Proud Partners.
“The Coca-Cola Company is incredibly proud to partner with Southern Company, another cornerstone of Atlanta’s business community,” said Peggy Loos, Vice President, Connections Activation, Coca-Cola North America. “Together, as Proud Partners, we hope to help make this season’s TOUR Championship an exceptional experience for all golf fans watching the broadcast at home and live from East Lake. By joining forces we’re excited to give back even more through our PGA TOUR partnership to the East Lake community and our hometown of greater Atlanta.”
“Southern Company is pleased to continue our partnership with the PGA TOUR and the TOUR Championship, and we are very excited about the changes being made to the tournament,” said Chairman, President and CEO Thomas A. Fanning. “And, we are also excited that the proceeds from the TOUR Championship directly benefit the East Lake Foundation and its programs to improve the overall quality of life within the community and neighborhood.”
“When the PGA TOUR season culminates with the FedExCup on the line, viewers will be able to watch the final groups square off on East Lake’s new back nine without national commercial breaks,” said Mike McCarley, president, golf, NBC Sports Group. “The format will allow us to better tell stories and build drama as players vie for golf's richest prize. The new finishing risk-reward par-5 18th hole at East Lake, the 3,402nd and final hole of the PGA TOUR season, could decide the FedExCup Champion. Fans should thank our partners at Coca-Cola, Southern Company, East Lake Golf Club and the PGA TOUR for these changes, which will help elevate the TOUR Championship and its presentation on Golf Channel and NBC."
The new sponsor structure, with some modifications, is patterned after the Proud Partner model at THE PLAYERS Championship. Both renewals also include both companies’ continuation in the PGA TOUR Official Marketing Partner program. Coca-Cola, the world’s most popular soft drink, remains the Official Soft Drink and Southern Company, America’s premier energy company, maintains its designations as the Official Energy Company and presenting sponsor of the Payne Stewart Award.