If you thought the Travelers Championship did a superb job during last year’s tournament in accommodating fans, involving players and utilizing its name sponsor, you’d be right on all counts. The PGA TOUR has honored the Travelers Championship with three of its "Best of" Awards for "Most Fan Friendly Event," "Best Use of Players" and "Best Title Sponsor Integration" for the 2012 tournament, held at TPC River Highlands in Cromwell. "On behalf of the PGA TOUR, I am pleased to acknowledge and congratulate the outstanding job and special recognition the Travelers Championship has received for its efforts," said Andy Pazder, PGA TOUR executive vice-president and chief of operations. "The tournament should be extremely proud for being recognized as the best among their peers on the TOUR." The awards were presented this month, after a selection process by PGA TOUR officials and tournament directors from around the country.
In the area of "Most Fan Friendly Event," the Travelers Championship has continually improved its SUBWAY® Fan Zone for fans of all ages, which includes a kid's area, concert stage, Travelers Chipping Challenge and a host of other activities. In addition:
- The tournament builds fan awareness through the BlumShapiro 5K race, held two weeks prior to the tournament.
- During tournament week, fan enhancements include Military Appreciation presented by Saint Francis Care, Farmington Bank Fan and Family Day, Golf Digest Junior Pro-Am, Women's Day presented by Travelers, Powerstation Events Concert Series, Travelers Championship Challenge online game, the Travelers "Call the Shots" Twitter contest, as well as daily giveaways to fans through the tournament's social media channels.
- The Travelers Championship also offers a number of affordable ticket packages and promotions in conjunction with area charities, on-site parking for the majority of fans, an ambassador program, free water and sunscreen, lockers for fans, Travelers-branded tote bags, welcome station and a prize patrol.
For "Best Use of Players," the Travelers Championship created eight events with 14 players that involved charity, fans, sponsors and volunteers.
- The tournament hosted defending champion Fredrik Jacobson for a media day where he participated in a networking breakfast with 150 area business leaders and a Q&A with ESPN's Chris Berman.
- On Monday during tournament week, the Travelers Championship brought Masters Champion Bubba Watson to Citi Field in New York City to throw the first pitch and help promote tournament week to fans in the New York market.
- To build relationships with the future stars of the PGA TOUR, the tournament also gave sponsor's exemptions to young, up-and-coming players like Ryo Ishikawa, Patrick Cantlay, Kelly Kraft, Bryden Macpherson and Patrick Rodgers. The previous week's U.S. Open winner Webb Simpson kept his commitment to the Travelers Championship, due in part to the fact that he received a sponsor exemption in 2008.
For the "Best Title Sponsor Integration" award, there were a number of activities throughout the year.
- With Japan's Ryo Ishikawa competing at the Travelers Championship, the title sponsor provided cultural training for employee volunteers and tournament staff, offered Asian-inspired cuisine for the media in attendance and printed tournament staff business cards in English and Japanese.
- The title sponsor and tournament worked on an integrated marketing plan with Travelers tagging national ads with broadcast tune-in information and supplementing tournament buys with additional media spends in outlying markets.
- Travelers also held a Travelers Championship Employee Day prior to the tournament in dozens of field offices across the U.S. and internationally, which included a number of golf-related activities. Travelers Championship Employee Day generated 90,000 views on the company's internal website, raised $34,000 for Birdies for Charity, generated $17,000 in ticket sales and recruited a company-record 1,252 employee volunteers.
"We are so fortunate to have Travelers as our title sponsor since 2007. Their commitment to making the tournament better each year has made the difference in the popularity of our event," said Nathan Grube, Travelers Championship tournament director. "We are thrilled to receive recognition in these categories, because it represents how much this tournament means to our title sponsor and the community that supports the Travelers Championship every year."
The 2013 Travelers Championship will be held June 17-23.