Epson Partnership Enhances Tour by Supporting Minimum Purse Levels of $200,000 and Lowering Player-Entry Fees, Yearly Ambassador Program Spurs Recent Tour Graduates for Continued Growth
BOCA RATON, Fla., and LOS ALAMITOS, Calif. (Jan. 26, 2022) – The LPGA Tour and Epson America, Inc., today announced a five-year agreement to kick off the technology leader’s title sponsorship of exclusive naming rights to the Official Qualifying Tour of the LPGA. The newly named Epson Tour enters its 42nd year of structured competition in 2022 and is the most established women’s qualifying tour in the world as the one “Road to the LPGA.” The LPGA and Epson brands come together in this global initiative to celebrate women in the spirit of competition.
The Epson Tour sponsorship takes effect immediately and extends through the 2026 calendar year. The Epson Tour will award LPGA Tour membership to the top-10 players on the Race for the Card money list at the end of each season. Epson America’s parent company, Seiko Epson Corporation (TSE: 6724, “Epson”), also becomes an Official Partner of the LPGA Tour and the Epson Tour.
“We are delighted to welcome Epson to the LPGA Tour family. This ground-breaking partnership will provide expanded opportunities for the future stars of the game from around the globe to test their talent and take one step closer to realizing their dreams,” said LPGA Tour commissioner Mollie Marcoux Samaan. “We are grateful that Epson shares our commitment to supporting young female athletes as they grow and develop and to playing an active role in the growth and equity in women’s sports. The ‘Road to the LPGA’ has never been better.”
Epson and the LPGA commit to enhancing player experiences and events by focusing on the support and empowerment of all Epson Tour members, throughout their time on Tour and upon graduation to the LPGA. The combination of each organization’s global platform will demonstrate an ongoing commitment to diversity, while achieving Epson’s aspirational goals of sustainability and enriching communities.
“Epson’s support for the LPGA and the Epson Tour underscores a corporate commitment to empowering women and helping launch the careers of these exceptional individuals,” said Keith Kratzberg, CEO, Epson America, Inc. “We are honored to have the opportunity to support these elite athletes and their individual journeys to qualify for the LPGA Tour, and beyond.”
The yearly Epson Tour Ambassador Program will officially begin in 2022 and extend $10,000 to each of the 2021 Epson Tour graduates, providing financial assistance to jumpstart the beginning of their new LPGA Tour journey. In addition, Epson is increasing the standard tournament purse size to $200,000.
“It’s really incredible to see the impact that Epson is making right from the start of their partnership with the LPGA. They aren’t just putting their name on the Epson Tour, but truly walking the walk and backing women’s futures,” said Fatima Fernandez Cano, an Epson Tour graduate in 2020 and 2021, and the first representative of the Epson Tour Ambassador Program. “I can’t thank Epson enough for believing in me. When I came to America from Spain to play college golf at Troy, these types of moments were a dream. Now it’s reality and I’m in a better position because of Epson.”
Underscoring Epson’s commitment to advancing the careers of talented female golfers, the partnership includes contribution of funds to initially lower entry fees by 10% per tournament for each player throughout the season, amounting to as much as $1,000 per individual over the course of the year. Part of this initiative is the creation of the Epson Tour DEI Partnership, as Epson and the LPGA are challenging at least four other companies to join them in elevating the competitive drive and dedication of Epson Tour members by working together to cut player-entry fees in half, from $500 to $250. Participating organizations will receive Pro-Am teams and signage at every Epson Tour tournament.
“We don’t only want to put our name on the Epson Tour; we want to find way to invest in players chasing their dream of the LPGA Tour and support them once that dream becomes a reality, through the Epson Tour Ambassador Program,” said Kendra Jones, Vice President Legal Affairs and General Counsel, Epson America, Inc. “We hope other companies will join us as we empower women through the DEI Partnership in cooperation with the LPGA.”
During the 2021 LPGA Tour season, nine former graduates or Epson Tour alumnae claimed 12 LPGA Tour wins led by Rolex Rankings No. 1 Nelly Korda, who captured four titles and a gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics. Other notable LPGA players who got their start on the Epson Tour include major champions Inbee Park from the Republic of Korea, Lorena Ochoa of Mexico, and Australia’s Hannah Green. These individuals exemplify the international draw of the Epson Tour, which annually attracts players from more than 40 countries and has graduated 65 players from 21 nations in the last seven years.
“We are grateful for Epson’s support of these women pursuing their LPGA Tour dreams,” said Mike Nichols, the Chief Business Officer of LPGA Qualifying Tours. “A global brand like Epson recognizes what we are building and continue to raise the Tour’s profile. This allows us to attract top players from around the world. We are especially appreciative of the immediate impact Epson will make, contributing to purses, player-entry fees, and supporting past and future Epson Tour graduates.”
The 2022 Epson Tour schedule will be announced during the week February 7, but the season is set to open in Winter Haven, Fla., with the return of the Florida’s Natural Charity Classic at the Country Club of Winter Haven from March 4-6. Epson will also assume sponsorship of the Epson Tour Championship, which concludes the season in Daytona Beach, Fla., from Oct. 6-9 at LPGA International.
Epson is a global technology leader dedicated to co-creating sustainability and enriching communities by leveraging its efficient, compact, and precision technologies and digital technologies to connect people, things, and information. The company is focused on solving societal issues through innovations in home and office printing, commercial and industrial printing, manufacturing, visual and lifestyle. Epson’s goal is to become carbon negative and eliminate use of exhaustible underground resources such as oil and metal by 2050.
Led by the Japan-based Seiko Epson Corporation, the worldwide Epson Group generates annual sales of around JPY 1 trillion. Epson America, Inc., based in Los Alamitos, Calif., is Epson’s regional headquarters for the U.S., Canada, and Latin America. To learn more about Epson, please visit: epson.com. You may also connect with Epson America on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram.
ABOUT THE EPSON TOUR
The Epson Tour (formerly the Symetra Tour) is the official qualifying tour of the LPGA Tour and enters its 42nd competitive season in 2022. With the support of entitlement partner Epson, the Tour’s mission is to prepare the world’s best female professional golfers for a successful career on the LPGA Tour. In the last decade, the Epson Tour has grown from 15 tournaments and $1.6 million in prize money to over $4 million awarded across 20+ events in 2022. With more than 600 graduates and alumnae moving on to the LPGA Tour, former Epson Tour players have won 458 LPGA titles.
Follow the Epson Tour at www.EpsonTour.com, as well as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
ABOUT THE LPGA
Created in 1950 by 13 Founders, the Association celebrates a diverse and storied history. The LPGA Tour competes across the globe, reaching television audiences in more than 220 countries. The Epson Tour (formerly the Symetra Tour), the LPGA’s official qualifying tour, consistently produces a pipeline of talent ready for the world stage. The LPGA also holds a joint-venture collaboration with the Ladies European Tour (LET), increasing playing opportunities for female golfers in Europe. Across the three Tours, the LPGA represents players in more than 60 countries.
Additionally, the LPGA Foundation has empowered and supported girls and women since 1991, most notably through LPGA*USGA Girls Golf, the only national program of its kind, which annually engages with nearly 100,000 girls. The LPGA Amateur Golf Association and LPGA Women’s Network provide virtual and in-person connections to female golfers around the world, while LPGA Professionals are educators, business leaders and gamechangers dedicated to growing the game of golf for everyone.