The fourth annual PGA Tour Champions event in Westlake Village is ramping up its day sponsors and hoping to boost attendance by throwing open its doors to the community.
Free general admission is a new move for the Invesco QQQ Championship, which features 54 golfers in the second of three events in the Charles Schwab Cup Playoffs.
Hosted at the Sherwood Country Club from Nov. 1-3, the tournament’s admission price will be covered by Chatsworth Products, Ninjio, Vizio and Gilead Sciences.
“What thrills me about giving everyone the free entry to see their favorite players on Saturday is that many of the attendees either can’t afford to pay standard ticket prices, or it would be a stretch for them,” said Zack Schuler, founder and CEO of Ninjio, in an email to the Business Times. “It now gives everyone the opportunity to see their favorite pros up close and personal, and make some great memories.”
Each company will serve as a sponsor for the event, supporting five nonprofits as the first anniversary of the Borderline shootings and Woolsey and Hill fires nears.
In the wake of the 2018 tragedies that struck about a week after the tournament ended, “our team knew immediately that we’d want to make a concerted effort in 2019 to use the tournament as a conduit toward aid and relief,” said tournament director Phil Bough.
The event will also feature a pavilion that will host first responders and their families. It includes an appreciation program, free clubhouse upgrades and views of the driving range and 18th green for local law enforcement officers, firefighters and EMTs, courtesy of Frontier Communications, Bough said.
Day sponsors include regional and California-based companies. Beneficiaries are Habitat for Humanity, Food Share, Interface, the American Red Cross Ventura County and United Way Ventura County.
Agoura Hills-based Chatsworth Products, one of the largest employee-owned companies in California, will sponsor Friday; Westlake Village-based cybersecurity firm Ninjio and Irvine-based entertainment product designer Vizio will serve as co-day sponsors for Saturday; and Foster City based biotech company Gilead Sciences will sponsor Sunday.
Chatsworth Products President and CEO Michael Custer said the company was honored to step up its sponsorship of the championship this year in partnership with the Sherwood Cares Foundation, which distributes all of the funds raised.
“We’re also committed to giving back to the local communities that are home to many of our employee-owner family and friends,” he wrote in an email to the Business Times.
Bough estimated the tournament’s economic output in the region at around $5 million to $8 million, based on hotel room stays and visitor spending. To date, $600,000 has been raised for regional charities in Ventura County.
“We’d like people to understand that this really is a community event,” Bough said. Some 500 people will volunteer during the week. While some attendees fly in from other states and Canada, Bough said local community members provide the majority of support.
The tournament doesn’t publish attendance numbers, but Bough said it has seen steady growth year-over-year. This year, he is hoping attendance will be upward of 5,000 people a day and 20,000 over the entire week.
The Invesco tournament team has worked to increase social media awareness this year, Bough said. They also partner with the Conejo Valley Chamber of Commerce’s tourism entity to encourage regional visitors.
During the busy week, Dole Packaged Foods will sponsor the second annual Dole Family 5K Fun Run on Nov. 2.
The Westlake-Village based company selected Food Share of Ventura County as a beneficiary of the event because of its continued relationship with the nonprofit, said Marty Ordman, a spokesperson for Dole.
“We are thrilled to be able to promote health and wellness while benefiting such a worthwhile organization,” he added. “It’s a win win.”
Another event within the tournament week is the Pro-Celebrity Shootout on Oct. 31, sponsored by international wearable wellness company Philip Stein. The winning charity will take home $10,000.
The Philip Stein team will be there promoting their sleep bracelet, said an LA-based company spokesman. The sponsorship also fits nicely with its goal to plug into the regional community and increase brand awareness in California.
• Contact Annabelle Blair at [email protected]