The Tampa Bay area is on the clock to find a new sponsor after Transitions Optical decided not to renew its contract for the PGA Tour event beyond 2012.
After a four-year run as the sponsor of the Transitions Championship at Innisbrook Resort’s Copperhead Course in Palm Harbor, Transitions Optical notified the Tour recently that it would not renew sponsorship of the popular 12-year-old tournament when the contract expires after the event in March.
“All along, we had said we would make a decision in the final year,” Connie Falvo, director of external affairs for Transitions Optical, said. “We’ve reached a very large number of golf enthusiasts and professional golfers, and now we have to broaden that reach to get beyond just golf and try to tap into others outside of golf.”
Falvo added that the relationship with the PGA Tour had helped the eyewear maker grow the brand and business.
“We’ll continue to look at staying in all aspects of golf,” said Falvo, noting the possibility of continuing involvement in the Tampa-area event, just not as title sponsor.
Transitions also is the official eyewear of the PGA Tour, but has not decided whether it will continue in that role when the contract expires at the end of June.
Ty Votaw, an executive vice president with the PGA Tour, said: “We appreciate all Transitions Optical has done for the tournament. We are talking with the Copperheads and will decide the best way to proceed after our discussions with them.”
From 1979 to 1999, the PGA Tour and the LPGA played in the JCPenney Classic, a mixed-team event that moved to Innisbrook Resort in 1990.
In the fall of the 2000, the PGA Tour held the Tampa Bay Classic, and after a one-year hiatus brought the event back in 2002 with Buick as the sponsor. The event was sponsored by Chrysler from 2003 to 2006 and called the Chrysler Championship before it moved to a spring date in 2007 when PODS, a local storage-unit company, took on the sponsorship for 2007-08.