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C Spire Signs Multi-Year Agreement to Become Presenting Sponsor of Mississippi Gulf Resort Classic Golf Tournament

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09/12/2013 | 10:15pm CEST

Deal with Mississippi-based telecommunications and technology services giant ensures popular PGA TOUR's Champions Tour event will stay on Gulf Coast

The Mississippi Gulf Resort Classic (MGRC), which has generated over $55 million for the regional economy and over $750,000 in assistance for local non-profit community charities since it began in 2010, will be staying on the Gulf Coast for the foreseeable future.

C Spire, the company that got its start in the wireless communications business on the Mississippi Gulf Coast 25 years ago, has signed a three-year deal to be the presenting sponsor for the annual Champions Tour event, which will be held from March 17-23 next year at Fallen Oak in Biloxi.

The multi-million dollar sponsorship includes provisions for continued administration of the tournament through the MGRC Foundation along with additional funding from 14 other consortium partners comprised of prominent companies with operations along the Mississippi Gulf Coast. C Spire also will continue as sponsor of the Thursday Pro-Am golf event held annually in conjunction with the tournament.

"We're very pleased to step up our involvement in this tournament and to continue to support the Mississippi Gulf Coast, which has been so important to the success of our company for so many years," said Kevin Hankins, COO for C Spire. "The Gulf Coast is a special place and we want to be a part of showing the rest of the world all of its beauty, charm and Southern hospitality."

Hankins spoke during a news conference Thursday at the Ohr-O'Keefe Museum of Art to announce the agreement and was joined by Champions Tour and tournament executives, state and municipal elected officials and business and community leaders who have been involved in the event for the last four years.

"Our name - C Spire - literally comes from 'customer-inspired' and the importance we put on listening to and serving our customers," Hankins added. "We know the Champions Tour embraces a similar approach in all of its activities and programs involving players and fans - so this is a natural partnership for us."

Roy Anderson III, Chairman of the non-profit MGRC Foundation and one of the 15 consortium partners, said C Spire's decision to be the presenting sponsor is a reflection of the company's continuing commitment to help the Mississippi Gulf Coast grow by showcasing its people, places and businesses. "Whether it's being a major sponsor of an event that will benefit our regional economy, providing great telecommunications services or helping us rebuild after a natural disaster, C Spire has always been there for the Mississippi Gulf Coast.," he said.

Champions Tour President Mike Stevens said the MGRC tournament will continue to be one of the 26 Charles Schwab Cup events that determine the year's best professional golfer over 50 years of age. "Our players always enjoy coming to the Gulf Coast with its great food, fans and hospitality," he said. "These tournaments are great opportunities for fans to get up close and personal with some of the legendary golfers of our time. We strive to make our events the most approachable, accessible and fan-friendly in all of sports and we particularly appreciate C Spire stepping up to ensure that we will continue to have a tournament stop on the Mississippi Gulf Coast."

Biloxi Mayor A.J. Holloway and Gulfport City Councilman Ricky Dombrowski said the tournament is a way for Gulf Coast communities to come together to support an event that benefits local hotels, restaurants, travel agencies, suppliers, entertainment venues and others who provide retail services used by players and golf fans. Since its inception, the tournament has generated over $750,000 in cash and in-kind services for non-profit, community-based charities, including over $300,000 alone for its primary beneficiary, the Habitat for Humanity of the Mississippi Gulf Coast.

"All of us know the importance and value of this tournament to local businesses and many of the non-profit charities that provide critical assistance and services to a wide cross section of the population," Holloway said. "That's why we all come together to promote the tournament and volunteer to work at the event."

The three-day tournament is scheduled to air on the Golf Channel, the Tour's exclusive cable-television partner, once again next year, exposing the Mississippi Gulf Coast and its attractions to a live national audience, according to Duncan McKenzie, chairman of the Mississippi Gulf Coast Convention and Visitors Bureau. "The television exposure has the potential to reach 84 million homes in the U.S. and another 115 million households in 185 countries internationally," McKenzie said. "This event is a tremendous opportunity to showcase the Mississippi Gulf Coast to potential visitors and tourists."

For more information on the 2014 MGRC tournament, please visit www.2014mgrc.com.

About C Spire

C Spire is a diversified telecommunications, networking and technology services company passionately committed to making all of its services conveniently personal. The company powers its fast 3G and 4G LTE wireless networks with extensive optical fiber infrastructure, offers a range of unlimited and shared plans that let you relax and pay only for the unlimited features you really use, products and services with key customer-inspired features and the industry's only comprehensive rewards program. This news release and other announcements are available at www.cspire.com/news. For more information about C Spire and its products and services, visit www.cspire.com or follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/cspire, Twitter at www.twitter.com/cspire, YouTube at www.youtube.com/cspire or Pinterest at www.pinterest.com/cspirewireless.

ABOUT THE MISSISSIPPI GULF RESORT CLASSIC

In addition to C Spire as the tournament's Presenting Sponsor, The Mississippi Gulf Resort Classic Presented by C Spire is uniquely funded by 14 other consortium partners, who see this event as an ideal way to promote the Mississippi Gulf Coast. The 2014 consortium partners are: Mississippi Power, Mississippi Development Authority, Hard Rock Resort, Beau Rivage Hotel & Resort-Fallen Oak, Grand Biloxi Hotel & Spa, Habitat for Humanity, F.E.B. Distributing, Hancock Bank, IP Resort & Spa, Roy Anderson Corp, Yates Construction, Mississippi Gulf Coast Regional Convention & Visitors Bureau and Coca Cola. The tournament is administered through the MGRC Foundation, Inc. and will benefit Habitat for Humanity of the Mississippi Gulf Coast.

ABOUT THE CHAMPIONS TOUR

Collectively, the Champions Tour has the most recognizable and accomplished players in the game with many of its 32 members of the World Golf Hall of Fame competing regularly in its events and numerous other major championship winners among its members. The Champions Tour is a membership organization of professional golfers age 50 and older. Conceived in 1980 as the Senior PGA Tour, it started with just four events and purses totaling $475,000. Points earned in 26 official Charles Schwab Cup events in 2013 will determine the Charles Schwab Cup champion, the season-long competition designed to recognize the Champions Tour's leading player. The Champions Tour's primary purpose is to provide financial opportunities for its players, entertain and inspire its fans, deliver substantial value to its partners, create outlets for volunteers to give back, protect the integrity of the game and generate significant charitable and economic impact in communities in which it plays. In 2012, tournaments on all five Tours (PGA TOUR, Champions Tour, Web.com Tour, PGA TOUR Latinoamerica, PGA TOUR Canada) generated more than $130 million for local charitable organizations, bringing the TOUR's all-time total of charitable contributions to more than $1.85 billion. The Commissioner of the PGA TOUR is Tim Finchem. Mike Stevens is President of the Champions Tour. The PGA TOUR's website is pgatour.com, the No. 1 site in golf, and the organization is headquartered in Ponte Vedra Beach, FL. Follow the Champions Tour at Facebook.com/Champions Tour and on Twitter @ChampionsTour.

ABOUT HABITAT FOR HUMANITY

Habitat for Humanity of the Mississippi Gulf Coast is the benefiting charity for the Mississippi Gulf Resort Classic. Habitat's work focuses on assisting working families achieve homeownership, financial education and counseling. For many, owning a home is often out of reach, but when presented with programs like ours, these families are able to achieve great things. Habitat is proud of the 550 homes we have built and rehabbed over the last several years.

C Spire
Dave Miller, 601-974-7725
dnmiller@cspire.com
or
MGRC
Steve Nieman, 228-896-6365
snieman@brunoeventteam.com


© Business Wire 2013
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