Barbecue sauce KC Masterpiece and charcoal manufacturer Kingsford are sponsoring Tim McGraw's 2008 Live Your Voice tour, which begins May 9 in Tampa with special guests Jason Aldean and Halfway To Hazard.

Live Nation is promoter of the tour, under Brian O'Connell's direction, and the tour will play primarily LN sheds.

McGraw will also play one-off headlining dates at several festivals prior to the tour including the Houston Livestock & Rodeo March 3, his debut appearance at the New Orleans Jazz Festival April 27 and the Stagecoach Festival May 4.

This is McGraw's return to the road as a solo headliner after two years coheadlining with his wife Faith Hill on the Soul2Soul II tour which, at about $150 million in ticket sales, is the top-grossing two-year country tour ever.

The multi-tiered KC Masterpiece and Kingsford sponsorship deal was brokered by Laura Hutfless, brand integration manager at EchoMusic, Marcie Allen Cardwell, president of MAC Presents, McGraw's manager Scott Siman, Charles Mordy marketing manager at Kingsford, Eric Carlock, brand manager at KC Masterpiece, and KC/Kingsford group PR manager Drew McGowan. McGraw's agent is Rod Essig a CAA. Those involved declined to discuss financial terms of the deal, but the sponsorship fee is believed to be in excess of seven figures.

The two brands will present the VIP Pre-Show Party where McGraw performs a private acoustic set prior to each show. McGowan calls the McGraw tour a natural fit for both brands. "These brands are about being authentic and being part of people's lives," he tells Billboard.biz. Fan/brand site EchoMusic, a division of Ticketmaster, will integrate the sponsorships through online fan and brand initiatives.

Fritos will be the "Official Snack" of the tour and the presenter of the "StyleSonic Stage," which will feature artists chosen by McGraw who will perform prior to the start of each concert, including Lance Miller and Catherine Raney. As a special promotion, McGraw is making StyleSonic music available for free download to everyone who buys a ticket to the tour this year. More details will be made available on TimMcGraw.com prior to the start of the tour. Additionally, Rock The Vote will also be onsite registering fans to vote.

McGraw has become known for innovative, multi-faceted sponsorships. Last year, the Jeep sponsored Soul2Soul II tour captured the inaugural Billboard Concert Marketing & Promotion Award at the Billboard Touring Conference, determined by more than 30,000 online votes from both fans and the industry at Billboard.com and Billboard.biz.

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