January 29, 2019
GEORGE SAVARICAS: Good afternoon everyone and welcome to the Waste Management I'm George Savaricas with the Golf Channel. We have a very special announcement that we're going to get to shortly. I just wanted to say prior to joining the Golf Channel I was actually working as a sports anchor here in Arizona. Had friends and family in the Scottsdale area that always talked about how special this event is that's become near and dear to my heart. Coincidentally, my first Waste Management Phoenix Open was back in 2010, which was an important year for Waste Management because that was their first year as title sponsor. So it's been amazing for me to see in the decade since how the relationship not just with Waste Management and the PGA TOUR and the Thunderbirds has evolved, but how this tournament has grown not just on the PGA TOUR schedule but on the sports landscape in general. To me it's the most fun week of the year on the PGA TOUR for a lot of reasons and I think for sports fans and golf fans it's kind of the perfect combination of getting to enjoy a PGA TOUR event. So without further adieu let me introduce the three gentlemen next to me, we have Jim Fish the CEO of Waste Management, Jay Monahan, PGA TOUR commissioner and Carlos Sugich who is the Big Chief for the Thunderbirds this year. So Jim, without further adieu let's let you take it away with the big announcement today.
JIM FISH: Thank you very much. This is our 10th year as title sponsor of the Waste Management Phoenix Open and so today we could not be more proud to announce the extension of our title sponsorship through the 2030 event. So a 10-year extension. We are very, very excited about it. Also want to announce a new relationship with the PGA TOUR. Waste Management will be the official environmental services provider for the PGA TOUR, so we're very excited about that as well. I want to say a couple things. First of all, this is such a natural extension for us. The PGA TOUR has a stellar reputation and this is a fantastic investment in our brand, it relates very well to the PGA TOUR and their stellar reputation. I want to say a few words about the zero waste side of this event. This will be the 7th year that this event is zero waste. And that is no small feat. It's the biggest zero waste sporting event on the planet. This will be the 7th year. It takes, I would say it takes a symphony to put this together, but this year there are so many people involved with this on all sides, I want to express my gratitude to all of those people who have made this possible for us and have given us the platform to really do great things with the environment.
Couple of other things, first of all in addition to the tremendous golf that's played out here and it is absolutely fantastic to watch these guys play, but in addition to the tremendous golf, we use this event as a stage for our Waste Management sustainability forum. And this is the 9th consecutive year that we have had the sustainability forum. We bring together leaders from around the globe who talk about innovative ideas around sustainability, we talk about how to solve problems, it's a fantastic event. Last year we had Bill Gates kick it off with a short video and he was -- I always say, look, Bill Gates could talk to us about brushing his teeth and it would be interesting -- but to talk about sustainability is really fantastic. And then really the last thing I want to say is I want to thank, first of all, all of those who are involved. I want to thank the Waste Management team who has been involved with this, the PGA TOUR, the PGA TOUR players, I want to thank the vendors, the sponsors, the fans, and of course the Thunderbirds. Without the Thunderbirds this would not be possible. And I would like lastly to thank this guy sitting next to me because without Jay Monahan -- Jay's a friend of mine personally, and a friend to Waste Management -- and without Jay Monahan and without the Thunderbirds, we would not be sitting up here today. So thank you to both of you guys. This is a fantastic event that we're super excited about.
GEORGE SAVARICAS: And I would say our thank you to Charley Hoffman who is on hand as well. A Waste Management brand ambassador since 2007, getting ready for his 13th Phoenix Open. Pretty amazing stuff. So Charlie, appreciate the time. Jay, certainly great news for your team today with the extension announcement. Can you discuss the PGA TOUR's partnership with not just Waste Management but the Thunderbirds and how it's flourished since 2010.
JAY MONAHAN: I would be honored to, George. And I just want to just first start off by saying what a relief it is to be here today because last year Jim invited me to be his pro-am partner and I wasn't sure I would ever be invited back here again, so this is very special on many fronts for me today.
But this is, on behalf of our players, this really is special. It's remarkable. To think that we have been in business with Waste Management for 10 years, we are now in business with Waste Management for at least 20, through 2030. That's very special because we think the world of Waste Management, Jim Fish and the entire team at Waste Management. So I personally and on behalf of our players want to say thank you to Jim and the great team at Waste Management. Been playing professional golf here since 1932, that's a long time, and this great history and tradition is now going to continue for a long time. And as Jim said, with the Thunderbirds, led by Carlos, what an incredible organization. They put their heart and soul into every single facet of this event, it shows, it's obvious to everybody here and everybody who is watching on television, all over the world. And I think this extension as Jim just said is a reflection of their passion and they have done amazing work in this community. So congratulations to you and to the Thunderbirds as well and thank you.
All great partnerships are mutually beneficial. You just heard Jim talk about it, but you think back to 2009 and the direction that Waste Management gave in terms of the importance of sustainability, the importance of innovating around green initiatives and the importance of getting to zero waste. That certainly was a great accomplishment for Waste Management and for the Thunderbirds, it's also a great accomplishment for the game of golf and the PGA TOUR. And that's something that we're really proud of. You talk about -- I'm always asked, what are the priorities for the PGA TOUR and it's pretty simple for us, it's fan first, and fans first and diversifying and growing our fan base and it's also making a huge impact on the communities where we play. If you look at this event, three of the last five years all the tournaments across the PGA TOUR have voted this tournament the tournament of the year, including last year. And then this past year for the first time we had a Most Fans First Award and the Waste Management Phoenix Open captured that award as well. You think about, it started famously with 16, you look at the concerts, you look at the hospitality, you look at the social media engagement, you look at the way the military's embraced, you look at the way all causes are embraced and this sets the mark for a lot of the tournaments if not all of the tournaments on the PGA TOUR. And then you talk about impact, 12.2 million dollars raised last year, I know Carlos is going to talk a little bit, more about that. But life is about impact and the difference you can make with the people you work with and the communities you serve and to think we are where we are and that the Thunderbirds are, on Monday following this event in the months that follow, taking those proceeds and investing them back in this community in such a meaningful way is something we're also very proud of. So I have a tendency to talk long, but I'm proud to talk long because I'm really proud of what's been announced today and excited to not just announce it but to get to work and to continue in the great path that we're on together. So thank you.
GEORGE SAVARICAS: And speaking of the extension through 2030 is a great partnership for all three parties, so definitely exciting news to share. And as part of recognition of today's announcement we would like to show you this video that really captures the essence of the Waste Management Phoenix Open.
JAY MONAHAN: If I could, I just want to say one thing. Charlie was recognized earlier, but Charley Hoffman has been on our Player Advisory Council and is now a player director on the PGA TOUR. And our organization has gone through a lot of innovation and change over the last several years, he's been a great director, but as importantly when you look at this event, I can tell you he's been a passionate advocate not just for Waste Management but the Waste Management Phoenix Open. And we talk a lot about impact. He and his wife just had their 10th Charley Hoffman Foundation event last week. They raised three million dollars since inception. And, Charlie, it's always great to be with you, but it's particularly great to be here with you today, knowing that partnership that you started is now with us through 2030. So thank you.
GEORGE SAVARICAS: Definitely great to see that Charley Hoffman charity event, always a lot of fun year in and year out. Carlos, this is one of the most exciting and unique tournaments in golf, that almost goes without saying. With what the Waste Management Phoenix Open has become, you have the huge crowds, the scene on 16, now kind of the crescendo to 17 and 18 as well and most important of all is all the money that's raised for charity. Without the tireless year-round work that you guys put in with the Thunderbirds, this wouldn't be possible. So how exciting is this for you and your organization?
CARLOS SUGICH: I mean obviously we're absolutely thrilled about this extension of our partnership with Waste Management. Waste Management has become more than a partner, has become a family up here. We had a nice ride over the last 10 years and we're excited about the future. We're excited about the next 11 years, I guess, to continue to innovate for the game of golf, for our fans, for our customers, and especially for our community. So clearly we're excited and looking forward to the next chapter.
GEORGE SAVARICAS: And you know this ongoing chapter is going to have Waste Management through 2030. To have this partnership solidified, for a tournament that was one of the last to get a title sponsor on the PGA TOUR, just how special is that dynamic?
CARLOS SUGICH: You know for many years we were known as the Phoenix Open and we put together the greatest show on grass. But we found an amazing partner in Waste Management and now we're both we're the greatest and the greenest show on grass. So I think that obviously is amazing for our community and for our tournament, but at the same time the financial commitment that we have from Waste Management has allowed us to give back more to the community and if you think about in the history of our tournament, we have given back to the community more than 134 million dollars, of which 68 million came over the last 10 years since Waste Management has been our title sponsor. So obviously that's one of the records that we are the most proud of and I think that's what the Thunderbirds are all about, we want to give back to the community that has been so supportive of this tournament over the years.
GEORGE SAVARICAS: Charity always a big part of the PGA TOUR, but that number is just staggering for what the three organizations have been over to do over the last 10 years. 68 million dollars is just incredible. So Jim before we take some questions from the media, would you like to share some final comments on today's news?
JIM FISH: Sure, George. Again, we are so excited to be extending this out through 2030. One last thought though is that -- and we talk about a lot internally, but that is how do we take what we do here for one week or two weeks and expand it to a full year. There's a huge audience, there's probably close to 800,000 people at the event for the entire week and then of course television audience. And so our goal is to encourage that audience to think about how you take this message beyond just the Waste Management Phoenix Open, expand it in your daily lives for the full year and if we do that, I think we can really make a difference with sustainability.
GEORGE SAVARICAS: Very well said. Now we would love to open it up to any questions from the media or anyone assembled regarding today's announcement.
Q. For Jim, when Waste Management originally looked at a PGA TOUR sponsorship, did you specifically target the biggest event you could find, to show what sustainability could achieve?
JIM FISH: It may have been more luck than skill on this one. I think we were approached and it was in 2009 during the down turn and we were approached and my predecessor, David Steiner, thought, this seems like it would be a nice catapult for our brand and for the sustainability message that we were trying to broadcast at the time and he was absolutely right about that. So I say that it may have been a little bit more kind of luck than skill on this one, but, boy, I'm glad we were in the right place at the right time.
Q. You listed off all the awards that this tournament's won, obviously there's the attendance record, the TV audience, but it still feels like kind of a black sheep on the PGA TOUR. Is there any efforts to sort of emulate kind of the magic that happens here throughout the year on the TOUR?
JAY MONAHAN: I can tell you that there is not a tournament on the PGA TOUR schedule that has not been here and looked at every single facet and element of this tournament and tried to find some nuggets, find some ingredients to take back and apply into their own market. But there is only one Waste Management Phoenix Open. There's nothing like it. Not just in golf but I put it up against any event in sport. But as I said earlier, if it's the way the event is staged, all of the events that happen from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. here with the way that carries through into the evening to the way the younger generation has embraced and embraced to the way that dollars are given back in the community to positively impact the lives of this community, this organization has created and we're proud to call them partners, all three of us together, have created something that is truly special. So, yeah, this is, I will see most of my colleagues in this business this week who are here, particularly over the next couple days looking at this event again and trying to find out what was done differently, what they have added, where they have innovated and is this something that they can apply in their own market.
JIM FISH: I'm going to add one thing and that is that -- because I've been asked that question a lot -- and I would tell you that as Jay said, all of these events are trying to emulate what this golf tournament does. But my answer is always, there's one thing that's been a constant for 75 years, 76 years, whatever the number is, but it's the Thunderbirds. The Thunderbirds are really what makes this event the event that it is. We have been involved for 10 years as the title sponsor. This thing's been going since 1932, I guess. So it's the Thunderbirds that ultimately differentiate this from the other events and I think that they're the group that is so hard to replicate. You can come create another event that has big crowds or has a sustainability message, but what you can't replicate is 75 years of involvement from a philanthropic organization like the Thunderbirds.
GEORGE SAVARICAS: You see how substantial the build out is here, Carlos, and it's kind of jaw dropping when you first get here, if you're a golf fan who hasn't experienced the Waste Management Phoenix Open. What growth initiatives are still left on this property? I mean, it's pretty incredible to the rate that it's become.
CARLOS SUGICH: Well, actually, you think about it, we are on 16, 17 and 18. So we got a lot of more holes to build.
No, I think that obviously it's just so amazing to see the support of the community and I think part of it is because everyone out there knows that by supporting the Waste Management Phoenix Open they are indirectly supporting hundreds of local charities and I think that's what makes this tournament special, along with our sustainability message. I think that into that, if you think about it, we're the most attended golf tournament in the world, we become this week the second largest city in Arizona, we are going to welcome more than 730,000 people here. We generate zero waste. Everything is reused, everything is recycled and obviously that is a very special message to everyone out there in that we appreciate the support that Waste Management and the leadership.
GEORGE SAVARICAS: One more question I was going to throw at Jay. You've kind of touched on just how unique the Waste Management Phoenix Open is. When you see the amount of attention it gets on the sports landscape, obviously there are all these grow the game type initiatives to reach fans who aren't normally at PGA TOUR events. What does a week like this do for the game of golf?
JAY MONAHAN: Well, going back to the priorities I mentioned, George, I think as you look at -- if you walk around the grounds over the next five days and you see the amount of people, the diversity that's represented in the game, new people that are coming out to the event for the first time. And you see, if you look at what's happening in the world, you get the Super Bowl later this week and there is no other event in sport that wants to be up the same week as the Super Bowl because it can compete in the week of the Super Bowl. And this event does it and does it extremely well. So I think this is a showcase for the game of golf and to the points that have been made here, this is about so much more than a golf tournament. We're really proud to come here with the best players in the world and every year there is drama that comes down right to the end and sometimes beyond on Sunday and our players are challenged in ways that they don't get challenged anywhere else. But if you think about the community impacts, you think about the sustainability, you think about the on-site experience, and you think about welcoming the game in a time frame when we have got so many great young relatable international players, this really is the perfect jump start for the year. This is a perfect accelerator at the beginning part of the calendar year as we go into the heart of our season.
GEORGE SAVARICAS: You talk about challenging players, I was with Cameron Champ earlier and it it's his first experience in the Waste Management Phoenix Open he was talking about how excited he is to get to see what 16 is like firsthand. I know something that you guys have gotten to experience inside the ropes with the pro-am, but a little different when it's Thursday to Sunday for the actual tournament.
JIM FISH: Well that's what they do though. My goal is to, by 2030, hit a good shot on 16.
GEORGE SAVARICAS: Is that the impetus? Give you more time.
JIM FISH: Exactly. That was it.
GEORGE SAVARICAS: All right. Anymore questions from the media here? If not, a big thank you to Carlos Sugich, Jay Monahan, Jim Fish, I'm George Savaricas, really appreciate everyone joining us here.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports