Indian golf faces sponsorship crisis

The Indian golf tour has been offering prizemoney of more than Rs 2 crore annually. However this year the money dramatically dipped.

updated: February 25, 2007 10:06 IST
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New Delhi:

The Indian golf tour has been offering prizemoney of more than Rs 2 crore annually. However this year the money dramatically dipped, a case of sponsors losing interest or poor marketing. The last event of the Indian golf tour is the Rs 28 lakh TSM Noida Open next month. The tournament is being sponsored by Tiger Sports Marketing or TSM, which has been marketing the Indian golf tour for the last five years. TSM has been forced to host this tournament to make up for the shortfall of prizemoney in this year's tour. Money game The 2003-2004 season was supposed to be worth Rs 2.51 crore, but only Rs 1.92 crore will eventually be possible. There was an initial shortfall of Rs 87 lakh, but the Rs 28 lakh TSM event will cut that down that figure to Rs 59 lakh.
2002-03 (24 events)Rs 2.35 crore
2001-02 (24 events)Rs 2.23 crore
2000-01 (23 events)Rs 2.02 crore
1999-00 (20 events)Rs 1.68 crore
A flop show by TSM given that they managed prizemoney in excess of Rs 2 crore for the last three seasons. Rs 2.35 crore was what the tour was worth last season, with a total of 24 events which is down to 19 this year. TSM says the shorfall in this season happened because of last minute pull out by sponsors.... "There are many reasons while not going into the depth of that, let me just put it this way - that the time was very short and we were not able to find a replacement sponsor for the short fall. As for the deficit, we were not able to find out in the short time but I'm sure next year will be a different scenario altogether," said Digraj Singh, Director (Marketing), Tiger Sports Marketing. Valuable contribution TSM's contribution to Indian golf cannot be doubted, considering the tour began in 1996-97 with just a little over Rs 1 crore as prizemoney. However a loss in earnings this year has certainly left many players displeased. "It's not a personal thing. The only reason why players are unhappy with TSM is because they failed to put up the money. They fell short by Rs 85 lakh for whatever reason - may be in their control, may not be in their control. But at the end of the day they fell short by Rs 85 lakhs. If they can put up Rs 3.05 crore next year I am sure that the players will even forget that there was any problem with Tiger Sports," said Gaurav Ghei, professional golfer. Tiger Sports however have just one week left to renew their contract with the PGAI or the Professional Golfer Association of India. The governing body of Indian golf invited fresh bids earlier this year and its believed that Nimbus offered a deal worth Rs 3.25 crores a year with a promise to increase it by 20 per cent each year. Looking for sponsors However Tiger Sports have a right to match that offer. The final decision will be taken by the PGAI which consists of several professional golfers, one of whom is Rohtas Singh. "As a player and a board member it's the same feeling. We are losing our money, all the players are losing their money. Last year, unfortunately, the sponsors backed out," said Rohtas Singh. TSM also says that they are not entirely to blame since sponsors are getting lured away by cricket. DHL, one such company had apparently committed to a Rs 10 lakh golf tournament last season, but then pulled out at the last minute. Clearly fighting against cricket for sponsorship is not an easy battle, but it's one that golf is willing to take on.