American Express will have its first opportunity to fully capitalize on its sponsorship with this week's eventGETTY IMAGES
American Express has “had two years as sponsor” of the Coachella Valley's PGA Tour event, but those years “have hardly been normal years by sports sponsorship standards,” according to Larry Bohannan of the Palm Springs DESERT SUN. AmEx “joined the desert tournament” just four months before the ‘20 event, meaning “most of the plans for that year were already in place.” In ‘21, the second year of the five-year sponsorship deal, the “marketing and hospitality opportunities a sponsor like American Express craves were wiped out” when the event’s three-day pro-am “was canceled and no gallery was allowed.” With fans back at the tournament this week, plus with the pro-am and two nights of concerts restored, AmEx “has its first real chance” in ‘22 to “make an imprint.” From a “major purse increase to a shift in the musical acts in the concert series,” AmEx is “creating a new buzz around the tournament.” In fact, the event "might not still exist" without AmEx' title sponsorship. Tournament Exec Dir Pat McCabe, employed by operator SportFive, said, “They are a fantastic title sponsor on so many fronts. We wouldn’t be here without them.” The purse for this year “has been increased” to $7.6M, up $900,000 from last year. The concert series also “has changed with an emphasis on attracting a younger audience.” That series “featured classic rock acts” in '18-20, like Sammy Hagar, Huey Lewis and the News and Stevie Nicks. This year’s acts include Maroon 5 and Brad Paisley (Palm Springs DESERT SUN, 1/17).