By ALAN SNEL
The non-profit Shriners Hospitals for Children organization is pouring $12 million to $15 million into this year’s professional golf tournament in Summerlin in early November, according to a Shriners leader.
It’s a big financial commitment by the Tampa, Fla.-based non-profit, which recently agreed to a three-year deal to continue its title sponsorship for the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open at TPC Summerlin for the next three years through 2020. This year’s golf tournament is set for Nov. 1-5.
The $12 million to $15 million commitment covers the costs of the event’s title sponsorship, playing the role of tournament host, the Shriners’ share of the $6.8 million purse and the organization’s hotel accommodations, food and travel, said Ed Stolze, Shriners golf committee chairman.
Stolze said a consultant advised the Shriners that PGA event provides $12.5 million worth of public relations and exposure value for the non-profit organization.
The Shriners are hoping that PR in the U.S. and abroad thanks to the Golf Channel broadcasts prompts people to donate money to the group, which runs 22 hospitals and treats more than 100,000 patients a year. The Shriners date back to 1872 in New York City and opened its first children’s hospital in 1922, Stolze said.
Patrick Lindsey, the golf tournament’s director, told LVSportsBiz.com that the Golf Channel’s 40 hours of coverage reaches 900 million households worldwide.
“They felt the golf tournament gives them the value they wanted for the money they’re spending,” Lindsey said.
Lindsey noted 700 Las Vegas kids are treated by Shriners hospitals.
The Shriners rely on a massive organization budget to pay the bills for the PGA event in Las Vegas. For the 2015 fiscal year that began Jan. 1 and ended Dec. 31, 2015, the Shriners had total revenue of $944 million and $573 million in expenses, according to GuideStar.com, which tracks the financials of non-profits.
For the 2015 fiscal year, the Shriners have nearly $9 billion in assets, and nearly $1 billion in liabilities for a net asset, or fund balance, of nearly $8 billion, according to GuideStar.
The Shriners are no strangers to using sports to publicize their cause to raise money for their pediatric hospitals. The Shriners run the East-West Shrine Game, a college football all-star game played annually in St. Petersburg, Fla. It began in 1925.
The Shriners also pay $250,000-$300,000 a year to sponsor NASCAR driver David Ragan in the number 38 car and also spend $250,000-$300,000 a year on a college baseball tournament in Houston called the Shriners Hospitals for Children College Classic, which features Big 12 Conference college baseball teams playing Southeastern Conference baseball teams, Stolze said.
Stolze said the Shriners are committed to Las Vegas until 2020. But he noted the NFL Raiders stadium is supposed to also be open by the fall of 2020. “What will happen if the Raiders play the same weekend as the golf tournament,?” he asked.
Lindsey said last year’s tourney attendance was 39,500 and he’s hoping for 45,000 spectators this year. There will be a flash sales event on Oct. 13 when tournament tickets will cost $13 to attend one day, Lindsey said.
Contact LVSportsBiz.com founder/writer Alan Snel at asnel@LVSportsBiz.com