Hidden Letters to the Editor: PGA Subsidy

These letters appeared in the Scottsdale Republic’s Sound Off page this morning. You can see my thoughts on this subject in an article I published in December 2012.

Is Scottsdale spending too much money on the TPC golf course?

Let us not get our exercise by jumping to conclusions. The chief financial officer of the city says he cannot verify the accu­racy of the report cited by those critical of the city’s actions. That’s curious, since ac­cording to a Mon­day article in The Arizona Republic it came from his department. The TPC and the Phoenix Open are clearly great assets for Scottsdale and the region. But before we get too worked up about whether it is a worthwhile expenditure for the city, let’s make sure we have the facts. So far it’s quite clear that we don’t.

Roy Pederson, Scottsdale, former city manager.

How much is too much? While it might appear that we are spending an excessive amount, what dollar amount can one place on a viewer watching the event at a time when his local weatherman fore­casts below-freez­ing highs and we are in short-sleeved shirts — a priceless commodity. Money concerning major events is money invested, not spent. When I travel and am asked where I live, all I need to say is “Scottsdale,” a location easily recognized. That branding comes about because of events such as the Phoenix Open. The experi­ence of Barrett-Jackson was a lesson to be remembered. An investment yields returns. Such an investment is the Phoenix Open.

Jerry Gettinger, Scottsdale, consultant.

Any city comparable with Scottsdale would pay almost any price to secure this highly coveted event. We embrace it. The thought of debating its value is beyond compre­hension to me. The indirect financial benefit to Scotts­dale and our hospi­tality industry is incalculable. What about sales tax?

The value of the notoriety and repetitive media exposure is beyond the financial means of any munici­pality’s budget for advertising and promotion. The assertion we have maximized the value of repetitive media coverage is imperceptive. Why do household brand names continue to advertise their products year after year? Out of sight, out of mind.

Bill Crawford, Scottsdale, gym owner.

The Scottsdale City Council is well-known for fiscal re­straint. The mayor and coun­cil are also well-known for their refusal to invest in things when the return on invest­ment is not clear. Scottsdale derives incredible benefit from the TPC courses and in particular from the incredible four-day spectacle of the world’s best-attend­ed golf event. What is four days on national television worth? How many people, sitting in living rooms with snow up to their windows tune in and make their vacation plans accordingly? TPC is a strategic in­vestment in tourism — an invest­ment that pays dividends year after year.

Rick Kidder, CEO of Scottsdale Area Chamber of Commerce.

The short answer is no! The Waste Management Phoenix Open is the single greatest economic and marketing engine that the city enjoys, relative to special events. The $90 million in direct spending alone justifies the city’s investment in the TPC as that pro­vides nearly $5 million in annual tax revenue. And those dollars are above and beyond the shared reve­nue streams from golf rounds, food and merchandise. Then there is the media value from the exposure Scottsdale receives from four days of national television coverage. Without the TPC of Scottsdale there is no PGA tournament in Scottsdale, and that would be a triple bogey!

Ray Artigue, Scottsdale, marketing communications executive.

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