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Wichita’s Web.com golf event likely to announce return in 2014

  • Eagle correspondent
  • Published Friday, Oct. 4, 2013, at 4:03 p.m.
  • Updated Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2013, at 6:43 a.m.

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Air Capital Classic officials are planning an Oct. 15 news conference to address the future of the Web.com Tour event, with signs pointing toward an extension of the annual golf tournament at Crestview Country Club.

Roy Turner, the tournament’s director, announced Friday that nine local businesses recently signed agreements to become Air Capital Ambassadors, a community-based sponsorship program designed to fund the tournament and its charities. First announced in March, the Ambassador program was created to fill the financial void left after Preferred Health Systems ended a run as the tournament’s title sponsor from 2002-12.

Friday’s announcement increased the number of Ambassadors with signed one- or two-year commitments to 17. The group accounts for $315,000 in annual support for the tournament. As of Friday afternoon, Turner awaited signed agreements from four businesses totaling another $75,000.

“I believe on the 15th we can tell everybody that hopefully we’re going forward,” Turner said of the news conference, planned to be held at the Hotel at Old Town. “I have to leave ‘hopefully’ in there at this point in case is there is something unforeseen.”

Preferred Health Systems provided more than $4 million to the tournament during its title sponsorship. Without a replacement for the six-figure annual sponsorship, Turner implemented the Ambassador program as a way to diversify support.

The program has been well-received, Turner said, although the pursuit of Ambassador sponsorships — which includes a $15,000 and $30,000 option — has taken the tournament into the final quarter of the year, when the Web.com Tour sets its schedule for the upcoming year.

“My initial concern was what the response to the program would be,” Turner said. “It’s really been more than I could have imagined. We’ve had some lows during this time, but the support has really kept us going.”

The 2014 tournament will include $500 increases in pro-am team fees and corporate sky boxes around the 17th green, a location known for its festive atmosphere. A pro-am entry will be $6,000 per team; corporate boxes will cost $7,250.

The tournament will need to finalize details with Crestview, the tournament’s host since 2001, and the Web.com Tour before an official announcement is made, Turner said. Crestview general manager Ken Nicholas indicated in August the club is eager to host the Air Capital Classic for its 14th year and beyond.

Turner said the tournament is hoping to retain its June spot in the Web.com Tour schedule, as well.

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