Hong Kong Open Needs Financial Backing

November 6, 2012

European Tour Chief Executive Officer, George O’Grady, said the Hong Kong Open faces an uncertain without increased sponsorship, as local institution HSBC said it was not interested in backing the tournament.

O’Grady said the European Tour could not “write cheques to sponsor Hong Kong”, although it is the underwriter for next week’s tournament at the Hong Kong Golf Club.

The open was without a title sponsor until UBS agreed to return for one edition. Prize money is down to US$2 million from US$2.75 million and organisers needed a handout from the government’s Mega Events Fund.

Because of the financial crisis in Europe, the tour has lost a number of events. O’Grady didn’t say Hong Kong would be next, but stressed that finding financial backing is vital.

“We might look rich, but we’re not. We can’t just write cheques to sponsor Hong Kong,” he said. “Sponsors can choose whether they want to keep Hong Kong going. We would like to keep it, but it is a factor of economics again.

HSBC has ruled out sponsoring the tournament. Giles Morgan, the bank’s global head of sponsorship and events, said: “Sponsorship is a business investment and we don’t need to sponsor everything in golf, we need to sponsor flagship events. We already sponsor the rugby sevens, which is Hong Kong’s most iconic event and we don’t need to do both.”{jcomments on}