PONTE VEDRA BEACH, FLORIDA – The Rocket Mortgage Classic (Detroit) was honored by the PGA TOUR at the TOUR’s Tournament Meetings on November 20.
For the inaugural tournament conducted at Detroit Golf Club, the 2019 Rocket Mortgage Classic earned awards for “Best Special Event,” recognizing the Area 313 Celebrity Challenge, and “Best Tournament Sales.” The tournament also won the newly-introduced “Fair Way Award” for its diversity and inclusion initiatives.
“On behalf of the PGA TOUR, I am thrilled to congratulate the Rocket Mortgage Classic on being recognized with three ‘Best Of’ awards for the 2018-19 PGA TOUR Season,” said PGA TOUR EVP and Chief Tournaments and Competitions Officer Andy Pazder. “The tournament committee and title sponsor Rocket Mortgage should be extremely proud of their collaborative efforts and for being celebrated as top among their peers on TOUR, especially in their first year on the PGA TOUR schedule.”
One-time functions such as luncheons, dinners, concerts or concert series, 5Ks and celebrity shootouts are considered for the “Best Special Event” award. The award recognizes the development of an actionable plan with clear objectives, creative elements and measurable results which drove attendance, social media attention, charity donations or media value.
To honor the city, the tournament named an exciting three-hole stretch after the downtown zip code and introduced the area to fans early in the week through the Area 313 Celebrity Challenge, a three-team, three-hole scramble competition that featured some of golf’s most prominent players and influencers, as well as local celebrities. Participants included PGA TOUR winners Dustin Johnson, Rickie Fowler and Bubba Watson as well as celebrities Jerome Bettis, Kid Rock and Tom Izzo, among others. More than 10,000 fans were on-site on Tuesday to see the unique branding and championship belt, while 39 million media impressions were generated by the event, including coverage by ESPN, Golf Channel and USA Today.
In sales, tournaments are judged on their adjusted post-event sales as well as their performance in categories such as pro-am, hospitality, and sponsorship and advertising. Early renewals, multi-year deals and sales training are also considered.
Within 10 months, the tournament built a robust sales team that was charged with extremely high goals. The benchmarks were all surpassed and helped launch the inaugural event with strong community participation and support, setting a great foundation for the future. The event’s strategic approach was highlighted by a dynamic pricing model and diverse hospitality options (leading to a sell-out), a heavy focus on profit margin for each product, as well as a data-based prospecting strategy to identify leads. The tournament’s average revenue generated per client was among the top three on the PGA TOUR.
A new award in 2019, the Fair Way Award recognizes the PGA TOUR’s ongoing quest for diversity, inclusion and social responsibility by highlighting the best moments, gestures and initiatives that promote equality, fairness, respect and openness in professional golf.
In conjunction with Rocket Mortgage and to reflect the city, the Rocket Mortgage Classic places a heavy importance on diversity and inclusion. The tournament’s internship program and vendor procurement included a significant focus on engaging qualified minority-owned and local businesses, while the volunteer leadership programs ensured the group was representative of the community. In working with the benefitting charities, the tournament was dedicated to promoting financial, social and racial equality, and more than 1,200 kids were impacted through several initiatives, including a kids clinic and a youth ticket program.
“I am truly humbled, and I know our entire tournament staff, our partners at Quicken Loans and Detroit Golf Club, and our volunteers are as well, to receive these prestigious awards,” said Jason Langwell, the Executive Director of the Rocket Mortgage Classic. “Every member of our team should feel a tremendous amount of pride today, not only for being recognized by the PGA TOUR, but for the validation of all their long hours and hard work as we built this first-year event from the ground up. Our tournament staff is comprised of some of the smartest, hardest working and most dedicated people I’ve had the privilege of working with anywhere, and we’re excited to continue building on the solid foundation we have set for this event.
“We are particularly proud to have the Rocket Mortgage Classic named as the first recipient of the Fair Way Award. Since Day 1, we have made it a priority to make this event inclusive to all and representative of the demographics of Detroit. In this effort, we’re following the precedent set by Quicken Loans, which makes diversity and inclusion a top priority each and every day.”
Nate Lashley won the inaugural Rocket Mortgage Classic in 2019, and the 2020 tournament will be held May 25-31 at Detroit Golf Club.