Last weeks announcement that Corning was ending its 32 year LPGA tournament in Corning NY really did not come as a surprise.
What came as a surprise is the reason.
The directors felt that it could literally blame poor attendance and lack of volunteers as its reasons for canceling its sponsorship.
In reality, this is what is happening:
Corning failed to mention that credit markets are so tight that they can't renegotiate debt at cheap rates anymore. The reason they have debt in the first place is because during the Internet boom, Corning went hog-wild into the fiber optic business, jumping on the debt-for-growth bandwagon and leaving their legacy glassware business in the dust. At the time it probably looked like a good idea...but not now...with mountains of debt as high as flat screen inventories at Best Buy.
That's what I would have liked to have seen in the release. But they passed the buck.
This is just one of many sponsorships that are going away. It's not just Corning. Looking at the history of Cornings LPGA beginnings, reveals a new, old world where the LPGA and other sports associations will have to base their realities:
"The tournament purse, which started out as $100,000 – with the winner getting $15,000 – stands this year at $1.5 million. This year’s winner will collect $225,000, two and a quarter times what Penny Pulz earned in 1979."
Tournaments that do not adjust for this reality, will be extinct...like the LPGA Corning Classic.
Thanks for reading. Keep it in the short-grass,