Could Tour lose more title sponsors? One player director thinks so

Could Tour lose more title sponsors? One player director thinks so

One of the PGA Tour’s player directors is anticipating the Tour losing more tournament sponsors this year.

Speaking to Golfweek’s Adam Schupak, Webb Simpson touched on a variety of matters related to the Tour’s ongoing business dealings and competitive transformation, including whether the Tour’s current business model is broken following reports that two longtime title sponsors, Wells Fargo and Farmers Insurance, are out after their current deals expire (Wells Fargo after this year, Farmers after 2026).

According to the Sports Business Journal, the Tour has been “commanding between $13-15 million per year from title sponsors.”

“The model is broken at the purse sizes we’ve been going the last year, and the sponsors are starting to feel it,” Simpson said. “Sponsors are pulling out. Wells Fargo, Farmers, there will probably be a couple more this year I would think, maybe one or two more. I hope not, but that’s a lot of money to put up for a week, considering the price of stadiums and stadium sponsorships and all kinds of stuff. Hopefully we deliver a product where – like I’m close with the Wells Fargo people. They’ve been extremely happy up until having to continue to increase their purse, and they just didn’t feel like it was a good fit for them. So, the product is really good. We’ve just got to sell it at the right price. We’ve got to be careful there.”

The Tour’s 2024 schedule features $398.9 million in prize money over 27 tournaments, plus an extra $75 million for the Tour Championship purse. The increase in purses has, in part, come as a response to LIV Golf and the enormous contracts it had signed some of its stars to. Some LIV deals have reportedly been in the low nine figures.

When asked whether pro golfers are overvaluing themselves, Simpson said, “Probably.”

“The amount of money we’re playing for is astonishing considering how many people watch our sport,” Simpson said. “That’s why I’m glad SSG is coming on board, because the way I see it, without SSG, kind of where we were, it’s not sustainable to keep playing for $450 million, or however much we do on Tour, without some kind of subtle to major shift in how we’re thinking about everything.”

For the full interview, click here.