TODAY

– March 31, 2015

AP Sources: Woods to get new sponsor for PGA event 


(AP) — The PGA Tour is closing on a deal for Detroit-based Quicken Loans to become title sponsor of Tiger Woods' tournament at Congressional, The Associated Press has learned.

Two people who have been told about the deal said Quicken Loans could begin its sponsorship before the next tournament, to be played June 26-29. They spoke on condition of anonymity because the deal is not completed and has not been announced.

Dan Gilbert, who owns the Cleveland Cavaliers, is the chairman and founder Quicken Loans.

It would be a big boost to the Tiger Woods Foundation, which receives the net proceeds from the event currently called the AT&T National. The foundation has created seven Tiger Woods Learning Centers, three of them in the Washington, D.C., area.

AT&T, in the final year of its contract, was not planning to renew the sponsorship. The Dallas-based company announced two years ago that it would sponsor the Byron Nelson Championship starting in 2015. AT&T already is under contract through 2024 as the title sponsor of the Pebble Beach National Pro-Am on the PGA Tour. It also sponsors a Champions Tour event in San Antonio.

Greg McLaughlin announced Tuesday that he is leaving after 14 years as president and CEO of the Tiger Woods Foundation. McLaughlin was the tournament director of the AT&T National and did well to keep AT&T on as title sponsor through 2014 after the upheaval in Woods' personal life.

Woods had a personal endorsement deal with AT&T — the logo was on his golf bag — for nine months until the telecommunications giant cut him loose in December 2009.

McLaughlin and PGA Tour spokesman Ty Votaw declined comment Thursday, saying there was nothing to announce.

The title sponsorship would expand on the sports marketing programs of Quicken Loans, the nation's largest online home lender. The company closed $70 billion of volume across 50 states in 2012, with web centers in Detroit, Cleveland and the Phoenix area.

The company sponsors NASCAR driver Ryan Newman, along with involvement in the IndyCar Series and with Team Penske. Quicken Loans is title sponsor of a Sprint Cup race in Brooklyn, Mich., on June 15, which is two weeks before the PGA Tour event at Congressional.

It announced late last year it would sponsor the Sprint Cup series race in Phoenix on Nov. 9.

The AT&T National began in 2007 with a military theme built around the Fourth of July in the nation's capital. It has been held at Congressional for all but two years, in 2010 and 2011, as the course prepared to host the U.S. Open. In those years, it was played at Aronimink outside Philadelphia.

Congressional is under contract through 2014, though discussions are underway to host the tournament every other year.

Three tournaments benefit Woods' foundation. The others are the Deutsche Bank Championship outside Boston, which began in 2003 and now is part of the FedEx Cup playoffs. The other is the unofficial World Challenge, which announced last year it is moving from California to Isleworth, the club near Orlando where Woods once lived.

Do California's new water restrictions go far enough?

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Written on 03/31/2015, 10:09 am by SAM HANANEL, Associated Press
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Written on 03/31/2015, 10:06 am by KRISTIN J. BENDER, PAUL ELIAS, Associated Press
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Written on 03/31/2015, 10:04 am by 
TALI ARBEL, MICHELLE CHAPMAN, AP Business Writers
(AP) — In the latest big pay-TV company deal, Charter is buying Bright House Networks for $10.4 billion. The companies said Tuesday that the deal would create the second-largest U.S. cable operator. Charter had previously wanted to buy Time Warner Cable, but lost out to a $45 billion offer from Comcast. That deal, along with the $48.5 billion combination of AT&T and DirecTV, are both under long-running regulatory reviews. The pay-TV industry is consolidating to gain more leverage against programmers such as The Walt Disney Co. Content costs have risen markedly, even as the pay-TV industry has shed video subscribers in recent years. New options for video that appeal to "cord-cutters" have sprung up in recent months, such as a Web version of HBO, an online set of about 20 channels from Dish called Sling and a $50-a-month service from Sony. Charter Communications Inc. said the Bright House Networks LLC purchase hinges on the Comcast Corp.-Time Warner Cable Inc. deal closing. As part of that combination, Charter is growing substantially. It's paying $7.3 billion for 1.4 million Comcast subscribers, swapping 1.6 million customers with Time Warner Cable and getting a one-third stake in a new cable company comprised of 2.5 million existing Comcast customers. But some analysts have become less optimistic that the government will approve the Comcast deal. Consumer advocates have said it will control too much of the country's Internet access, with more than 50 percent of high-speed Internet subscribers and nearly 30 percent of U.S. pay-TV customers. The Bright House deal is also subject to regulatory review. Charter, based in Stamford, Connecticut, is currently the fourth-largest cable operator in the U.S., with 4.3 million video customers, mostly in the Midwest, West and South. Bright House is the sixth-biggest with 2 million customers, mostly in Tampa and Orlando, Florida, but also in Alabama, Indiana, Michigan and California. According to a client note by MoffettNathanson analyst Craig Moffett, Bright House also has "a strong reputation for service and customer satisfaction," a rarity among cable companies. Bright House and Charter are not competitors in any of their markets. The Charter-Bright House deal is "kind of small in the scheme of things," says John Bergmayer, a senior staff attorney at Public Knowledge, a nonprofit group that advocates for Internet access. "Trends in consolidation are always worrying but this deal by itself is not as bad as some other deals out there." Public Knowledge doesn't think the Comcast-Time Warner Cable deal should be approved. Advance/Newhouse — the parent company of Bright House — will own 26.3 percent of the combined company. Charter is paying it $2 billion in cash and the rest in stock and preferred units that convert into common stock of the new company. Once the Bright House deal closes, John Malone's Liberty Broadband Corp., Charter's biggest shareholder, will buy $700 million shares of the new company, giving it a 19.4 percent stake. The board of the new company will include 13 members, with three directors appointed by Advance/Newhouse and three directors appointed by Liberty Broadband. Shares of Charter Communications added $13.05, or 7.1 percent, to $196.44 in midday trading. Liberty Broadband's stock gained $3.75, or 7 percent, to $57.45.
Written on 03/31/2015, 10:01 am by The Associated Press
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Written on 03/31/2015, 9:59 am by JULIE WATSON, Associated Press
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Written on 03/31/2015, 9:51 am by The Associated Press
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Written on 03/31/2015, 9:50 am by FRAZIER MOORE, AP Television Writer
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Written on 03/31/2015, 9:35 am by Business Journal staff
A woman who went on a "Taser" spree in a Fresno Walmart Sunday bit the chest of a man trying to protect his 12-year-old son who was hit with the stun gun. Fresno police reported that Jasmine Stevenson, 19, was arrested after a short foot chase near the Walmart on Herndon and Ingram avenues in Northwest Fresno. She's accused of entering the Walmart store and assaulting customers with a pink Taser. Victims include a 32-year-old woman, a 19-year-old man, a 30-year-old man and the 12-year-old boy. Stevenson's alleged bite of the boy's father drew blood, causing her to break free and run from the store. Stevenson was charged with assault with a deadly weapon, child abuse, assault with a stun gun and resisting arrest for the assault, which was captured on surveillance video. She was booked into Fresno County jail and faces a bail amount of $110,000 based on her charges, according to Fresno County jail online records.

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