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ADS TO BE SOLD ON GOLF COURSE TEE SIGNS

Golfers at Town of Tonawanda courses will have more to look at this spring when they tee off. The town is selling advertising space on its tee signs to companies.

Last year, the town paid about $40,000 for new entrance and tee signs for its golf courses and parks. And now an advertising deal has been made to have the signs pay for themselves.

The town recently signed a one-year licensing agreement to have Manzella Marketing Group of Buffalo sell advertising space for all of its 57 tee signs on Sheridan Park and Brighton golf courses.

"It's just a way to generate nontax, nonfee revenue and help pay the bills," said Councilman Joseph M. Shiah, chairman of the Parks and Recreation Committee.

Daniel J. Wiles, the town's recreation director, said the town doesn't have the staff and the expertise to attract advertisers. He said he's optimistic about the endeavor because the two golf courses attract 50,000 players each year, a statistic he thinks will appeal to companies.

Manzella won't get any money upfront. The company only receives money when an advertisement is sold. It will be paid a third of the funds from the sale of the ads, and the town will keep the rest, Wiles said.

He said the agreement allows the town to be selective about advertisers; ads won't be sold to tobacco or liquor companies.

"We want the type of vendors whose image is in line and suitable for the youth and recreation department," Wiles said.

A few years ago, the town embarked on a similar effort, but it wasn't profitable because the tee signs fell into disrepair, and the company folded, Wiles said.

Manzella will also work to acquire sponsors for youth recreation events and publications, such as brochures and printed schedules, Shiah said. But the company's primary focus, he said, will be the golf courses.

e-mail: esapong@buffnews.com

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