Add the LPGA tournament at Kingsmill Resort in Williamsburg to the list of sporting events hurt by the downturn in sponsorship spending.
Anheuser-Busch InBev has decided not to renew its sponsorship of the Michelob Ultra Open at Kingsmill, ending a seven-year relationship and putting the future of the tournament into question.
Anheuser-Busch Inbev officials insisted they are not walking away from the LPGA tour altogether.
“”This was a policy decision about bringing our LPGA marketing in line with out PGA Tour strategy,” an A-B In Bev spokesman told Golf Digest.
The tournament was popular among players because of the quality of the course and the purse, which was one of the largest on tour.
But there was a feeling things weren’t going great when ESPN2 cut away from the tournament to show part of an NCAA lacrosse match.
“I tried to tell them on TV, you need to come back … because we need to have a tournament here,” Christie Kerr told the Daily Press. “This would be a monumental loss for the LPGA if we lost the event here, in my opinion, for me anyways.”
According to Golf Digest, the loss of the Kingsmill tournament gives the LPGA 17 events under contract, down from 34 in 2008.