Major sponsorship money, including $10K just for FPO -- and a USDGC / TPWDGC qualifier
March 11, 2021 by Josh Mansfield in News with 0 comments
To the tune of $30,000 of added cash, the Lone Star Classic, a B-tier tournament held in Austin, Texas, has obtained sponsorship opportunities that even Elite Series events don’t always match.
Real estate developer Zydeco Development, the title sponsor, is donating $25,000 to the tournament: $20,000 for player payouts and $5,000 to go towards video coverage of the event. Perhaps even more impressive is that the top five FPO players will have the same payout as their male counterparts. That’s thanks to a $10,000 sponsorship designated to the women’s purse by Tito’s Vodka.
Typically, only Majors, Pro Tour, and National Tour tournaments feature similar amounts of added cash. The Lone Star Classic was sold “as something that supports the local disc golf community,” said Ken Shepperd, tournament director.
Zydeco Development has been a close partner to the Circle C Disc Golf Club, the Austin-based club of which Shepperd is a founding member. Five years ago, the club proposed using the Met Center, Zydeco Development’s property, as the location of a new disc golf course in the city. This decision has closely intertwined the disc golf community with an influential business in the area. As a result, Zydeco Development has been the title sponsor since the inaugural tournament in 2019.
“Our first event was a flawless tournament,” said Shepperd. “Our local club put thousands of hours in to prepare for the event.” The support from the community, paired with the substantial turnout, showed Zydeco that the Lone Star Classic would be a tournament that makes a difference in the local community. When the tournament was over, “they approached us about becoming a bigger part of the event,” said Shepperd. Now, Zydeco has committed $25,000 to the tournament for the next five years.
Growth can’t just be limited to the MPO side, however. “We approached [Tito’s Vodka] and detailed the current push in disc golf toward equality for the FPO side of the sport,” Shepperd said. “They saw it as an opportunity to make an impact with their sponsorship and were thrilled to jump on board.” Based in Austin, Tito’s is a long-time sponsor of disc golf in the area. Expanding the community of women’s disc golf is a focus of the Lone Star Classic, says Shepperd. That emphasis plays a pivotal role in attracting both players and sponsors.
“We’re ecstatic to be a part of the Lone Star Classic and help support the expanding Austin disc golf community,” said Lisa Nuccio, Field Sales Manager at Tito’s Handmade Vodka. “We hope this sponsorship continues to build and inspire equality in the sport.”
For both sponsors, one element was consistent: “We had to show them that there was an opportunity for growth…Our goal is to bring the national disc golf scene to Austin, Texas, and our sponsors were excited to support that vision.”
That growth includes attracting disc golf’s top pros to attend. Normally scheduled for the middle of February, the new dates — April 2-4 — position the tournament in the middle of the Texas swing in order to attract some of the touring pool. The Lone Star Classic is also a USDGC and Throw Pink Women’s Disc Golf Championship qualifier this year, making it the first B-tier to receive the honor and further incentivizing touring professionals to play in the event.
The enormous sponsorships, strategic scheduling, and effective marketing has made the Lone Star Classic a model for other tournaments to follow in making disc golf a community endeavor and creating opportunities for the sport to prosper.