Are the Olympics a Missed Opportunity for Golf
Friday 29th July 2016
Rio 2016 marks the first time in 112 years that golf has been included in the Olympic Games. You’d think athletes would be chomping at the bit to take home a gold medal. However, it appears otherwise.
The majority have released statements of growing concern over the Zika virus. Golf is played outside and in marshy terrain acting as a Petri dish for mosquitos. We get it.
However, Rory McIlroy took a more brazen and perhaps honest approach. He came out saying, “I didn’t start playing golf to grow the sport. I started playing to win PGA Championships. I’ll probably watch the Olympics but I’m not sure golf will be one of the events I watch.”
Rory’s statements sent a clear message that The Olympics simply aren’t a priority for the top players. Is this a missed opportunity for golf?
Numbers don’t lie. The London Olympic Games were broadcast in over 220 territories, had a potential audience of 4.8 billion and the average viewer consumed 7.5 hours of coverage. That’s over half the world’s population and almost 8 episodes of Game of Thrones!
When tennis was reintroduced to the Olympics in 1988, 147 nations were affiliated to the International Tennis Federation – today there are 211. Countries playing in the Davis Cup have risen from 74 to 135 and in the women’s Fed Cup from 36 to 102.
Even still six of the top twenty-four tennis players aren’t attending. Additionally, six of the seven top NBA players are sitting the bench. The difference is that unlike golf the NBA hasn’t seen a dramatic drop in viewing figures.
According to FIBA, at least 450 million people play basketball worldwide. If it continues to grow at this rate, it will surpass football as the most-played sport globally. This growth is why media sponsorship deals are being renewed at up to quadruple the previous amounts leading to over $5.2 billion in revenue last season.
Compare that to the 60 million international golfers. Even though the 2016 Tour is rich with Americans, only seven of the top twenty are from outside the US, the industry shouldn’t be strictly focusing on traditional golf playing nations. The Olympics would help expand to massive markets like China.
It’s ok that Rory didn’t start playing golf to grow the sport, which kid did? However he does currently have a responsibility to grow the game. He gets paychecks and endorsement deals because fans want to watch him play. We don’t see him turning down Nike because he didn’t start playing golf to have photographs taken do we?
We can’t force Rory and other pros to attend. Unfortunately, their absence means the sport and fans will suffer.
What our clients say
We have used Laura and her team at European Golf Challenge on numerous occasions on our charity days with our clients such as Argos, ASOS, Homebase and House of Fraser. They are always cheerful, professional and the banter they have with the clients on the tee and there amazing golf prowess is second to none.
Director David Nash, D & G events
Laura and the team at EGC did not only offer great challenges to engage the attendees, but have also fed-back on some great ideas for the future. The EGC team made everyone feel very welcome and gave the attendees some great banter, which resulted in a positive outcome. Key partners requesting they attend next year’s event.
Richard Stickler, Nintendo UK and GamesAid.org Event Organiser
Thank you EGC, for all your efforts to ensure yet another successful event. The attention to detail and professionalism you have provided, while adding something new and exciting to the corporate golf world is second to none.
Brad Gould, Golf Sales Manager, The Grove
EGC came on board to manage and plan the Tim Bresnan Benefit Golf day. The event was a huge success due to EGC’s fantastic and professional services. They were a great asset to the benefit year and we would highly recommend them.
Tim Bresnan, Benefit Committee (England Cricket)
Laura and the EGC team have been working with Close House for a number of years. Professional and diligent, always going the extra mile to ensure the client has the perfect golf experience from the start to the conclusion of the event. EGC add a fresh and unique approach to a golf experience.
Ian Dinning, Director, Close House
It has been a pleasure and very refreshing, to work with Laura and the team. Their energy levels and professionalism are second to none and I look forward to continuing our working relationship for many years to come.
James Bryan, VP Polygon PR