Firm goes for the green with $50,000 sponsorship deal for Shriners golf event

In a world of $4.5 million Super Bowl TV spots and nine-figure stadium naming rights deals, a $50,000 sponsorship at a Las Vegas professional golf tournament might not seem like a megadeal.

But it is for Todd Shanholtzer, owner of TREW Financial and Benefits Group.

“We donate a lot of money,” Shanholtzer said at a sponsor breakfast and golf outing event Monday for the Shriners Hospital for Children Open at the TPC Summerlin course.

Shanholtzer said 11 company employees work in his Summerlin office, part of the 75 employee who work in the Las Vegas, San Diego and Honolulu company offices. He is expanding into a bigger hospitality tent for 100 people at the PGA golf tournament, which is slated for Oct. 15-19.

Shanholtzer’s sponsorship is part of the big-league tourney’s growing sponsorship revenues, said Adam Sperling, the event’s director.

Major sponsor MGM Resorts International extended its three-year sponsorship deal to 2017, and the Shriners Hospital for Children Open has drawn new sponsors such as Twin Peaks restaurants, US Bank and Las Ventanas, a Summerlin retirement community that is sponsoring senior day at the PGA event, Sperling said.

MGM Resorts wants to use Shriners Hospital for Children Open to draw more golf-interested guests to its hotel-casino properties who might not know that Las Vegas hosts a PGA tournament, said Lance Evans, MGM Resorts vice president of marketing partnerships.

Evans said MGM Resorts will release more details on how it will activate its golf sponsorship closer to the event. The hotel-casino company also recently sponsored local PGA golfers: Nick Watney, Ryan Moore, Derek Ernst, Scott Piercy, Ken Duke, Pat Perez and Jhonattan Vegas. MGM Resorts also sponsored LPGA star Natalie Gulbis.

Evans said MGM Resorts is bullish on the Shriners golf event.

“We wouldn’t do (the sponsorship) if we didn’t see the value,” Evans said.

Besides MGM Resorts extending and expanding its sponsorship, another tourney initiative is a free web.com small- business summit for local businesses to attend to learn tips on generating more income through the Internet, Sperling said.

Sperling said the tournament has generated more sponsorship revenue through May 31 than it did for the entire 2013 calendar year. The event had about 150 sponsors in 2013.

The tourney’s goal is to increase revenue by 40 percent in 2014. Sperling said the event is 20 percent ahead of that goal at this point of the year.

The Tampa, Fla.-based Shriners have a $10.2 million budget for the golf event, said Gary Dunwoody, the Shriners golf committee chairman and a 22-year board member. The Shriners are both the title and host sponsor of the event, which has a $6 million purse and had attendance of about 30,000 in 2013.

“We consider corporate sponsors to be the key to success,” Dunwoody said. “We want to be a first thought, not an afterthought.”

Contact reporter Alan Snel at asnel@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-5273. Follow @BicycleManSnel on Twitter.