Open for Business and Up for Bid: The Symetra Tour | Sports Destination Management

Open for Business and Up for Bid: The Symetra Tour

Feb 27, 2021 | By: Mary Helen Sprecher

Photo by Jonathan Kolbe, courtesy of Valley Forge Tourism & Convention Board

Listen up, golf destinations! The Symetra Touris seeking hosts for its one-week events in 2022.

Since Symetra’s inaugural sponsorship year in 2012, the Symetra Tour has grown from 16 tournaments and $1.7 million in prize money to $4 million in prize money awarded over the course of 24 tournaments. (Information on this year’s Symetra Tour can be found here).

The Symetra Tour is known as “the Road to the LPGA” and since 1999, it has been designated as the LPGA’s official developmental tour. The LPGA acquired the Symetra Tour in July 2007. As of July 2019, a  total of 147 women graduated from the Symetra Tour to the LPGA since 1999.

According to Mike Nichols, Chief Business Officer, who spoke to SDM in 2019, the event provides an excellent showcase for cities who have never hosted a pro event.

“It’s a tournament that more cities can host,” Nichols noted. “Not every community can host a PGA TOUR event or an LPGA Tour event; that is a multi-million-dollar annual event. The Symetra Tour, though, does provide a great opportunity to see what a pro golf tournament is like. At the same time, it is a tour where the players are very accessible, and where you’re actually up-close and able to see them.”

And, he notes, in addition to tournament play, cities are able to host some beneficial events.

“We host a junior clinic or two at almost every tournament. Sometimes, we’ll do a public clinic, or we’ll do something with a local boys’ and girls’ club or the YMCA. Something we’ve realized is that every time we do that, a player touches a club for the first time.”

The rewards of hosting are significant. The Symetra Tour generates $1M in earned media for the area and sponsors during tournament week and $1M in economic impact.

Host Responsibilities

Communities interested in hosting the Symetra Tour should understand the need to become involved as a partner, notes Nichols.

“We’re a little different from many of the sports events out there. Because we’re a pro tournament, we need to find a community that has a corporate sponsor able to underwrite the purse of the event. We need to speak to chamber of commerce, country club, economic development officials – anyone who might be able to find someone to underwrite that event.”

The tournament title partner will cover the minimum $200K purse. Also necessary is a golf course that will embrace the future LPGA stars.

The tour officials, Nichols adds, know golf, but they don’t know the big entities in a community, or who might be up for sponsorship, whether it is a bank, a hospital or another large business. Sports commissions and CVBs have that knowledge. And there are benefits to sponsorship, after all:

“It’s giving someone a way to put their name on the tour. And it’s about empowering the next generation of the LPGA so it’s a big deal. When we come to town, we’ll have the players that you’re going to be seeing on the LPGA Tour next year. Look at it this way: If you go to Triple-A baseball game, you’re doing the family thing, but you’re also kind of hoping one of the players you’re watching play will be in the Majors one day. With the Symetra Tour, 10 to 15 of our players will be on the LPGA Tour.”

And with the boom in golf, more people are playing – and watching – than ever before. Being featured on the Symetra Tour can open the door to increased golf tourism – and of course, to hosting other tournaments.

To learn more about the Symetra Tour, and about hosting, use this contact information.

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