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Manufacturer Sponsors Looking For Alternative Ways To Support Team Members

There is no contingency plan for a pandemic

With no tournament earnings or performance bonuses to rely on, many professional players are in a tight financial spot while the PDGA pauses sanctioned events.

As we’re all learning, there is no contingency plan for pandemic.

Manufacturer sponsors, a necessary source of financial support for most touring players, are generally handling the COVID-19 pandemic in similar fashion. Fundraiser discs are being stamped and heading out the door, sometimes with a higher proportion of proceeds going to the players directly. Disc sales can be the reason players are able to stay on tour for long periods of time.

With a return to normalcy on the course continuing to get pushed back, and the U.S. job market taking a major hit making temporary work tough to come by, how else are sponsors supporting players?

“At this time, we have reached out to our players to discuss the situation and are presently looking at what we are able to do,” said Steve Hollaway, MVP Disc Sports Team Manager. “Given that there isn’t precedence set for this yet, we are attempting to evaluate what options we have.”

Whereas MVP has yet to make concrete plans, other companies have extended offers to those who rely solely on disc golf to make a living.

“Dynamic Discs is working with our touring players to create some additional media opportunities, disc signings, and unique solutions for the difficult situation that we’re all facing,” said Eric McCabe, Team Manager for DD, Latitude 64, and Westside Discs. “We’re not sure exactly what the next few weeks will look like, but we’re trying to plan as much as we can to help them out.”

McCabe said he personally has been in contact with all players who fit the “touring” criteria on the three teams to check on their safety and well-being. Dynamic Discs team member Chris Clemons has said that DD offered lodging in the Emporia area if necessary.

Innova Team Manager Jonathan Poole told Ultiworld Disc Golf that no plans had been finalized for offering additional financial support to team members outside of tour fundraiser discs but that ideas were being discussed.

“Innova Star Team, Team Champion, and Crew are the sponsorship levels that are considered to be ‘on tour.’ We would begin there and extend out if possible,” said Poole of potential support measures.

Poole did not say how many players he had been in contact with, but that less than 10% of sponsored Innova athletes had reached out to him with concerns regarding the diminishing tour schedule.

Requests for comment from Discraft and Prodigy were not immediately answered.

  1. Bennett Wineka
    Bennett Wineka

    Benn started playing disc golf in the '90s but has somehow never gotten any better. He lives in Decatur, Georgia and cares too much about Atlanta United and UNC basketball. Email him at bennett@ultiworld.com

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