Thunderbirds, Tour Begin Search for New Sponsor

FBR OpenPHOENIX - The Thunderbirds, FBR and the PGA Tour announced today that they would begin the transition process toward securing a new title sponsor of the FBR Open in 2011. It was agreed that all parties would benefit from beginning the search process for a new title sponsor as soon as possible. As per the terms of their sponsorship agreement, FBR will continue as the title sponsor through the 2010 tournament.

"FBR has been the finest partner a tournament could ask for," said Tim Louis, Big Chief of The Thunderbirds, hosts of the FBR Open. "Together, we have become the leader in charitable giving on the PGA Tour. While we are extremely disappointed we need to find a new sponsor, we are pleased that we were able to work out a plan that gives us a reasonable timeframe to replace FBR with as little impact or disruption as possible. When FBR told us of their decision not to continue beyond 2010, we concluded that this early transitional strategy made the most sense for everyone involved." 

"The FBR Open has been a centerpiece of our marketing and business development strategy for the past six years," said Eric Billings, Chairman and CEO of FBR, which assumed sponsorship of the tournament in 2004. "We are grateful for the very productive partnership we have with The Thunderbirds and the PGA Tour, and are particularly proud of the more than $33 million that our tournament has raised for charity in such a short time. The Thunderbirds have made this tournament one of the crown jewels on the PGA Tour. Given the significant scale, unique attributes and overall quality of the event, we expect there will be little difficulty in securing another title sponsor."

FBR Open"We appreciate FBR's efforts to help elevate the visibility and impact of the tournament over the past six years," said PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem. "We will begin working diligently with The Thunderbirds to find a new title sponsor. In the meantime, we look forward to FBR's continued involvement with the FBR Open in 2010."

Entering its 75th Anniversary year, the FBR (Phoenix) Open is the fourth oldest tournament on Tour. It also was the longest-running, non-major tournament on the PGA Tour without a title sponsor (1932-2003) before The Thunderbirds decided to actively pursue one. While the tournament has been successful in the past without a title sponsor, The Thunderbirds' leadership prudently determined that adding a title sponsor would guarantee the tournament's standing as a leader in charitable giving. The 2008 FBR Open generated $8.6 million for Arizona-based charities - an all-time PGA Tour record. 


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