Lately, if you've been to big golf tournaments in North Texas, such as the Byron Nelson or Invited Celebrity Classic, it's hard to miss the presence of Choctaw Casinos & Resorts. How and why did that start, and are there plans for further expansion?
Leading up to this week's AT&T Byron Nelson, Local Profile interviewed Erica Kosemund, senior director of gaming brand and partnerships at Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, about those plans on the links.
Here is what she had to say.
When did Choctaw start its relationship with golf in North Texas? And why golf?
The Byron Nelson Salesmanship Club thought Choctaw Casinos & Resorts would be a great fit for the tournament and reached out to us in 2019. Our first tournament together was in 2021. Since then, we've built out a fun and entertaining experience at the Choctaw Club.
Golf is a great family sport. It's a great entertainment sport. Since Byron Nelson is the largest professional tournament played in Collin County, it's an ideal fit for us. Our closest property, Choctaw Casino & Resort - Durant, is only an hour from DFW.
How did Choctaw originally get involved with the Byron Nelson?
The Byron Nelson is focused on giving back to the community through education. Through the Momentous Institute, they can provide kids with the lifelong skills they need to succeed. This mission and vision closely align with the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, so it was a natural fit when they contacted us.
What can fans expect at the Choctaw Club at this year's AT&T Byron Nelson?
Whether you are a golf fan or not a golf fan, the Choctaw Club is a fun, club-like atmosphere. The Choctaw Club will give guests an up-close view of the 16 green and the 13th tee. In addition, guests will enjoy high-end food from Three Forks, the Choctaw Crush specialty drink and other beverages, music, free-to-play games like craps, roulette, and blackjack, and they can enjoy different photo opportunities.
How many tournaments does Choctaw sponsor a year?
In the DFW area, we sponsor the Byron Nelson Golf Tournament at the TPC Craig Ranch, and we are the presenting sponsor of the Invited Celebrity Classic at Las Colinas Country Club in Irving. Outside of Dallas, we sponsor an LPGA event in Northwest Arkansas for another one of our resort properties, Choctaw Casino & Resort - Pocola, which is located on the Arkansas border.
Does Choctaw have plans to expand further in golf?
Ideally, Choctaw Nation would love to own and operate a golf course within our reservation.
What kind of impact has the golf sponsorships made on Choctaw branding?
Our golf sponsorships allow us to introduce ourselves to a new audience. Golf fans enjoy the entertainment and resort value we offer at Choctaw Casino & Resort - Durant, one of the Midwest's nicest resorts.
What other partnerships does Choctaw have in store?
Choctaw Casinos & Resorts have several partnerships in the DFW area that we are proud of, including the naming rights for Choctaw Stadium with the Texas Rangers. In addition to our Texas Rangers partnership, we are pleased to partner with the Dallas Mavericks and Dallas Stars. We are also starting a new partnership with Dickies Arena in Fort Worth and will have a Choctaw entrance at that facility. Additionally, we have outstanding rodeo partnerships with the PRCA through the NFR and are looking at new and emerging sports like pickleball.