VIENNA -- The Board of Mahoning Valley Sports Charities, Inc., the non-profit foundation that owns and operates the Giant Eagle LPGA Classic, has finalized an agreement with the LPGA Tour which will secure professional golf in the Mahoning Valley through 2004.
The LPGA contract is essentially a three-year extension to the existing contract with Mahoning Valley Sports Charities, Inc. and is one of the cornerstones needed to continue building this strong community event.
Giant Eagle stays: Continuing their commitment to the tournament and the Mahoning Valley, Giant Eagle, Inc., the Pittsburgh-based grocery store chain, has also extended its title sponsorship agreement through the 2004 Tournament.
"The LPGA is thrilled that Giant Eagle has chosen to extend its title sponsorship of the LPGA stop in the Youngstown-Warren area," said Ty M. Votaw, commissioner of the LPGA.
"This tournament is a favorite among our players because of the incredible fan support, and the hospitality the area has extended to the LPGA family since the tournament was started 12 years ago. Giant Eagle's sponsorship has enabled the tournament to carry a $1 million purse, among the Tour's largest purses, and create a successful tournament atmosphere. As a native of Salem, Ohio, I consider this to practically be my hometown, and it makes me proud to know that through Giant Eagle and the community, the Giant Eagle LPGA Classic is one of the top tournaments on our Tour."
Further adding to the security and strength of the Giant Eagle LPGA Classic are the Tournament's Founding Members, who all have extended their major sponsorships through 2004. They are, with their first year of sponsorship in parenthesis:
Cellular One (1993), True North Energy (1993), Trumbull County Convention and Visitors Bureau (1993), Giant Eagle (1994), National City Bank (1995), Pepsi (1995), Superior Beverage Group (1997), Dean Dairy Products Co. (2001), Friends of Squaw Creek (2001) and Superior Printing Company (2001).
Enthusiastic: Mahoning Valley Sports Charities Board Members offered their enthusiasm for the event and its future.
"It is a great honor to have True North Energy associated with the Giant Eagle LPGA Classic and Mahoning Valley Sports Charities. With great pride The Lyden Company and True North Energy salute the tournament champion by awarding the W. G. Lyden Trophy" commented Mark Lyden of The Lyden Company.
"Pepsi is proud to have sponsored the Giant Eagle LPGA Classic for seven years and we look forward to a continued relationship with a great community event," said Danny Writtenberry of Pepsi.
"As a Founding Sponsor since 1993 and the exclusive sponsor of the Classic Pro-Am presented by Cellular One, we are pleased to renew our commitment to the Giant Eagle LPGA Classic and to the local community. We at Cellular One feel this is a tremendous benefit to our community and are pleased and proud to say we are a sponsor of this outstanding professional sporting event," commented Slayton Stewart, Vice President, Northern Region for Cellular One.
Staying at Squaw: Squaw Creek Country Club, located in Vienna, Ohio, once again is the home of the Giant Eagle LPGA Classic and will remain the home, under the terms of a new agreement, at least through the 2004 event. A traditional rolling course with fast, undulating greens will present a significant challenge to the best lady professionals in the world.
For the fourth year, the Giant Eagle LPGA Classic will be televised live nationally on ESPN2. A total of six hours of coverage are anticipated on ESPN2, which currently reaches over 71 million homes. The tournament is part of The State Farm LPGA Series, a 12-event television series on ESPN and ESPN2 with a $250,000 bonus pool. Players earn points for top-20 finishes in the 12 events, with $100,000 going to the overall series champion.
"With these major infrastructures in place, the Giant Eagle LPGA Classic has the ability to continue raising money for local children's and educational charities, showcase our Valley to a national audience, present a first class event to the entire region and pump millions of dollars each year into the local economy," said Tom Hollern, Chairman of Mahoning Valley Sports Charities.
Since 1993, over 100 deserving local children's and educational organizations have received almost $2.5 million in tournament contributions on behalf of Mahoning Valley Sports Charities, Inc. The 2001 Giant Eagle LPGA Classic will be held July 23-29.