There is a surge in popular interest in golf and advertisers are queuing up to invest in the two major golfing events that India will host in February 2008.
Lured by big money and growing consumer interest golf is turning out to be the fastest growing urban sport in the country. To aid this and for the first time over India will host two prestigious golf tournaments in February 2008: the $2.5 million European Tour Indian Masters and the $2.5 million Johnnie Walker Classic.
Though golf is popular in the US, the sport is growing in countries such as Korea, Japan, India, China, Germany, UK, and South Africa. The golf market in India has been forecast to grow over 25% annually in the next five years.
Worldwide, golf is a $7.1 billion industry and in India, the sport as an industry, is estimated to be growing at 30-40% annually and valued at between Rs. 50-60 crore according to the Managing Director of golf event management firm, Tiger Sports Marketing, which is managing the Indian Masters.
Apart from top playersâ€™ interest there is also a surge in popular interest in the game, and advertisers are queuing up to invest in it. At this point, many information technology giants have expressed interest in the game as have some fast moving consumer durable firms, which are keen to advertise in the Indian Masters. Since the deals have not yet been signed and many are in the deliberation stage, sources prefer to remain mum as to the exact amount being invested in the sport.
The tournament is part of â€˜Golf in Dubaiâ€™sâ€™ ambitious drive to expose the Emirateâ€™s rapidly growing golfing portfolio of world class courses on the global stages stage. as Golf is fast becoming a big time sport and the game is growing, no question about it. And this European Tour event will have the appeal and the profile to further enliven the Indian golf scene. Being the promoters and organizers of world class events like the Dubai Desert Classic and the Dubai Ladies Masters, organizers are quite certain that the Indian Masters will create an unprecedented buzz on the vibrant Indian golfing scene encouraging more and more advertisers.
The growth of the Indian economy has coincided with the emergence of golf as major sport in the country.
The History of golf in India can be traced back to 1829 when the Royal Calcutta Golf Club, the first golf club the British Islands, came into existence. Gradually other Indian cities followed suit and a number of golf clubs took root in different parts of the country. At last count, there were more than 10 top golf courses in India.
Considering the growing interest, television broadcasters have also bagged the rights for the PGA tour, the US Open and the British Open Golf events.
India is set to become the 37th destination visited by the European Tour next year when the inaugural Indian Masters will be played.
Boasting of the richest prize money in the history of Indian golf, the event is a result of the growing status of the game of golf in India, augmented by the performances of Indians across the golfing globe.
For all those who consider the sport a poor cousin to the religion of the masses, cricket, golf in India is sure to get a boost when the best talent from over seven continents will be on display and showcase the infrastructural development needed to host an event of the stature.
It is a challenge to the advertising companies how best they can make their clientâ€™s product visibility on the golf course as well as through the TV channels. Being of an odd size advertising in a golf tournament may not be as easy as for other games. But with the skills Indian organizations are bestowed up on we are sure they will again set up a world class example.