The LPGA is pitching an event that would align with future NFL Pro Bowls starting in 2018, Street & Smith’s SportsBusiness Daily reported Thursday.
“The main idea is that we combine an LPGA event that would pair LPGA players with retired NFL players around Pro Bowls,” Jon Podany, chief commercial officer for the LPGA, said in the report. “It is one of our highest priorities. After recent meetings, we are sending follow-up proposals to potential sponsors this week. We’ve got a compelling package that is already finding interest, and I feel confident that we will find the right partner.”
The NFL long had staged its Pro Bowls in Hawaii prior to last year, when Orlando served as the game’s site. No official plans have been determined for the 2018 game, although it is expected to be in a warm-weather climate.
“We would be pleased to talk further with the LPGA about their concept,” said Natalie Ravitz, senior vice president of communications for the NFL. “At this stage, we are focused on finalizing our plans for the 2018 Pro Bowl. Last year was our first time in Orlando. We had a great experience with the city and we have an option to return. And we’re in the process of evaluating that and talking with our partners.”
The LPGA attempted to make a pitch last year but ran out of time before the game, Podany said. The tour is now seeking a title sponsor deal that would run from 2018-2020 for approximately $4 million per year, with Labor Day the unofficial deadline, the report said.
The event would be a 72-hole stroke-play tournament with 108 LPGA players competing over the first 36 holes. After the field is cut to 40 players, each would be paired with former NFL players and coaches in a team competition. LPGA players would compete against each other for a $1.5 million purse.
The proposed tournament would take place Jan. 25-28, 2018, which would require the Pure Silk-Bahamas Classic to move up one week in the schedule.