Categorized | Management

Got your game plan?

How you can use THE PLAYERS Championship to benefit your small business

Anyone who has been to THE PLAYERS Championship knows that the greatest tournament in golf is about more than the game itself. The annual tournament is a social mecca, a haven for new business development and the must-attend venue for executives of all levels.

THE PLAYERS is the place where businesses meet, new relationships are formed and deals are made. Each year, more than 350 corporate businesses invest in a range of hospitality and sponsorship programs at THE PLAYERS — all with a goal to build relationships and generate new business. But the question is often asked, “What is available for small business owners?”

What’s in it for me?

“There is no better event in Northeast Florida to meet influential business professionals and decision makers than at THE PLAYERS,” said Jared Rice, director of sales and marketing for THE PLAYERS. “But there is a misnomer out there that small businesses cannot get into these big hospitality tents.

“We want local businesses to have the opportunity to network with C-level executives from around the world and have created customized packages just for that purpose. We have thoughtfully designed tickets and venues that allow businesses of every size and type to attend the tournament and network with local, national and international executives who attend the tournament not only to watch the game, but to make deals and meet new contacts,” continues Rice.

Vince McCormack, president of locally based Perdue Office Interiors, is one small business owner who understands the value of networking at THE PLAYERS. For the past 20 years, McCormack has taken advantage of the opportunities afforded to small businesses by purchasing packages ranging from private chalets to The Benefactor packages.

This year, McCormack has already purchased a customized package for The Benefactor tent that includes 16 tickets per day, Monday through Sunday, for his sales team to utilize for business development and client entertainment.

“We often entertain clients at local events, such as the Jaguars’ games and the Gator Bowl, but THE PLAYERS is unique in that it is an international event right here in our backyard that draws business professionals from around the world,” said McCormack. “The tournament has always been a great value for our company — customers appreciate it and we are able to develop new relationships and enhance existing ones.”

Like McCormack, Andy Baggs is another local business owner that understands the value of business development at THE PLAYERS. Every year, The Baggs Craft Dixon Powell Group at Morgan Stanley Smith Barney purchases corporate hospitality packages to network with other business owners and generate business leads at the tournament.

“THE PLAYERS is the place to be for that one week in May and it is a great opportunity to network; odds are when you are out there you will run into people you know and be introduced to new business professionals,” said Baggs, first vice president, wealth advisor and investment management consultant with the financial group. Baggs is also a fourth-year vice chairman with THE PLAYERS.

For this year’s tournament, Baggs and his group purchased The Benefactor package, which includes 30 tickets per day to the venue, and divvied up the tickets amongst their team and other advisory groups. Baggs said this is the best way for small businesses like his to have access to corporate hospitality tents without spending outside their budgets. The tickets are used to entertain clients throughout the week, or in some cases, Baggs and his team will give the tickets to clients to use at their convenience.

“We get more mileage from The Benefactor package because we are able to take a small group of clients to the tournament each day and this fits well within our business model,” Baggs said. “I think THE PLAYERS has done a tremendous job of creating customized packages for small business owners who may have different needs and uses for the tournament than a Fortune 500 company.”

Be a part of the action

The key for small businesses to take advantage of the networking opportunities at THE PLAYERS is to find a plan that works for them. Here is a list of options for small businesses to attend the tournament and network at Northeast Florida’s largest business and sporting event:

•Decide which package or ticket is the best fit for your company. Small business owners and executives can purchase weekly and individual tickets to hospitality venues and make a plan to take one or two clients to the tournament each day.

•Work with THE PLAYERS sales and marketing team to discuss a custom package that fits your budget and entertainment style.

•Determine which clients, prospects or former clients you would like to invite to the tournament. Call and invite them to attend on a particular day or send an invitation.

•Make a list of other businesses and executives you want to meet at the tournament. Make it a priority to network at venues such as The Turn, The Benefactor, The Courtyard and The Clubhouse to meet new business contacts.

•Partner up with another small business to purchase a private tent or customized package to entertain your clients, prospects and employees. There are several private venues and packages that can be shared by companies that pool their funds together and divvy up the tickets.

Giving back

There is no doubt that THE PLAYERS is an economic engine for Northeast Florida and its small businesses. The tournament brings an economic impact of more than $150 million to the First Coast, which is the equivalent to having the Super Bowl in Northeast Florida every year.

Small businesses in Northeast Florida have the opportunity to take advantage of the tournament and create lasting relationships that will ultimately affect their bottom line. By investing their time and resources, small businesses can be a part of the action and increase their recognition, relationships and revenue by utilizing the networking opportunities available at THE PLAYERS.

2012 Fan Course Map of THE PLAYERS 

THE PLAYERS Championship 2012 – What You Need to Know

When: May 7-13, 2012

Where: TPC Sawgrass, Ponte Vedra Beach

Tickets: Children 18 and younger are admitted free with a ticketed adult. Tickets can be purchased at Publix or online at

Corporate Hospitality: Corporate hospitality packages are still available. Visit and click on 2012 Tickets or Hospitality.

 Parking: All parking is onsite at THE PLAYERS Championship. General parking Monday through Wednesday is free. Parking passes Thursday through Sunday must be purchased prior to arriving at the tournament. Passes are $20 and can be purchased online at, at Publix or at Will Call the day of the tournament.

Cell Phones: Cell phones are allowed at the tournament and THE PLAYERS will have upgraded towers for additional coverage and service.


 THE PLAYERS by the Numbers

$150 million: Estimated economic impact to Northeast Florida

350: Corporate businesses that invest in a range of hospitality and sponsorship programs at THE PLAYERS.

135,000: Approximate number of fans, business executives and media who attend THE PLAYERS each year

$50 million: THE PLAYERS goal over the next 10 years for local youth-related charities

$46 million: Generated for Northeast Florida charities since 1977

$5.9 million: Raised for local charities in 2011

20,000: Military tickets distributed for 2011 tournament

2,000: Volunteers who make THE PLAYERS possible every year

865: Media staff members representing 192 outlets and 12 countries covering THE PLAYERS

700 million: Households worldwide that receive THE PLAYERS telecast each year

38.4 million: Viewers who tuned into Golf Channel and NBC to watch the 2011 telecast


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