Isuzu says this year was it’s last |

Isuzu says this year was it’s last

Michael Traum

Isuzu is hitting the road.

After seven years as the title sponsor of the Celebrity Golf Championship at Edgewood Tahoe Golf Course, American Isuzu Motors Inc. will not be the title sponsor of the tournament next year, according to Isuzu Vice President of Marketing Services Joe Fellona.

“This was our last year contractually and we’re constantly evaluating our marketing actions. We won’t be back next year,” said Fellona following Sunday’s final round. “It’s no way a dissatisfaction with NBC, the tournament or the golf course. There are no negative aspects. Frankly, this year has been the best.”

Fellona said the sponsorship of the Edgewood tournament has been the company’s longest running association with any sporting event. But the decision to leave was based, in part, on the company’s incentive program. Isuzu uses trips to Tahoe and participation in early-week tournament events to encourage sales for its dealers throughout the country.

“Most of our dealers have been here at least once or twice. We’re just looking at other things now. It’s strictly a marketing decision,” he said.

Jim Gluckson, tournament media director for Sports Marketing & Television International, a company which is part-owner of the Celebrity Golf Championship with NBC Sports and oversees tournament operations, marketing and advertising, said the tournament is actively pursuing new title sponsorship affiliations.

“There were some potential sponsors out here this weekend. We’re pretty confident we’ll be sponsored next year,” said Gluckson, who wouldn’t comment on which companies have shown interest.

Isuzu signed on as the biggest contributor for the Tahoe event in 1992. There was no title sponsor in the two years prior to Isuzu.

While no numbers were available, the automobile company reportedly spent at least $1 million during the last two years on the Celebrity Golf Championship.

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