Humana Challenge named ‘Sports Event of the Year’

The 2012 Humana Challenge in partnership with the Clinton Foundation earned one of the most prestigious awards in sports business and events when respected Street & Smith publications SportsBusiness Journal and SportsBusiness Daily named the PGA Tour golf tournament its Sports Event of the Year at the fifth-annual Sports Business Awards in New York on May 23.

As the only golf event nominated in the category, the Humana Challenge beat out a dynamic field that included the 2011 Carrier Classic college basketball game (North Carolina vs. Michigan State), the 2011 NBA Finals between the Dallas Mavericks and Miami Heat, Super Bowl XLVI (New England vs. the New York Giants) and UFC 129.

“We are greatly honored to receive such an award and we are very humbled to accept this honor,” said Humana Challenge Tournament Chairman Larry Thiel. “When you look at the quality and stature of the nominees here, it simply magnifies the level of this achievement for our event. This award recognizes the level of commitment from not only our staff and volunteers, but the incredible amount of support we received from Humana and President Clinton’s foundation. They are partners in every sense of the word.”

The Sports Business Awards recognize outstanding achievements in sports business from March 1, 2011 to Feb. 29, 2012. Nominees were selected by the staffs of SportsBusiness Journal and SportsBusiness Daily. Sports industry executives and members of the SBJ/SBD staffs then selected the winners in 13 of the 15 categories.

“Winning ‘Sports Event of the Year’ is an unbelievable honor for the Humana Challenge,” said Mike McCallister, Humana Chairman and CEO. “It really speaks to the commitment of our partners and the Coachella Valley community in making this event successful. We were also proud that spectators, fans and viewers rallied around our dream of helping people achieve lifelong well-being that we and the Clinton Foundation worked to emphasize throughout the tournament. We’re humbled by the success of the event and will continue to instill healthy activities throughout the years to come.”

The SBD/SBJ panel recognized the 2012 Humana Challenge on many levels, which included Humana’s and the Clinton Foundation’s roles and structural changes to the event that not only enhanced those roles, but used the event’s iconic status in the community to bring out key messages of health and well-being.

For 2012, the Humana Challenge introduced a revamped format that took the event from five rounds to four. Aside from creating a stronger field – the sixth strongest non-major field compared to 2011 TOUR events – featuring the likes of four-time major champion Phil Mickelson and 2011 FedExCup champion Bill Haas (the 2010 event champion), the event involved the community with a variety of pre-tournament and tournament-week activities which provided an emphasis on health and wellness: “well-being … with a side of golf.”

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