Sands China Ltd. is apparently not renewing the contract that gave the Macau Open its title sponsor for the past five years, forcing the Sports Institute (ID) to look for fresh cash to support the men’s professional golf tournament, part of the Asian Tour and founded in 1998.
With time running out and Macau’s name still not included in this year’s Tour calendar, creating concerns that 2017 could be the second time in the event’s almost two decade history that it has not been held, the Sports Institute informed Business Daily that the event will take place, no matter what.
In a short message, an ID spokesperson said the: ‘Open 2017 will be held at the Macau Golf and Country Club from 19 to 22 October this year, and will be one of the events on this year’s Asian Tour calendar’. ID spokesperson Bernardino Lo added that, ‘up until this moment there is no title sponsorship for this year’s event. Notwithstanding this situation, the organizer will endeavour its best efforts to work with Asian Tour to stage a world class tournament and to continue the success of this major international sporting event in Macau.’
The Venetian Macao was the title sponsor of the last five editions, but the agreement ended last year and apparently Sands China will not renew the contract. As has become a common trend, our requests for clarification from the company were greeted with mute disdain.
Avoiding another cancellation
The Sports Institute wants to avoid a second blow to the event’s history in the SAR. The tournament also failed to take place in 2010.
With the Asia Tour calendar already decided (see calendar) and without Macau being listed, the ID nonetheless is guaranteeing that it will happen, scheduled to occur between the Philippines and Hong Kong Open.
If it doesn’t take place, this would be a second blow to the new Sports Institute president Pun Weng Kun, since taking over in February of last year, after the still unexplained confusion regarding the return of the World Touring Car Championship (WTCC) to Macau after a two year absence from the local Grand Prix.
Recently, Pun Weng Kun said the WTCC race was still not a done deal for the upcoming 64th edition of the Macau Grand Prix, scheduled to take place from November 16 to 19. However, on both the WTCC website and the website of the International Federation of Automobile (FIA), the touring car race is scheduled to take place in Macau this year. Several attempts from Business Daily to solve this apparent puzzle found a mysterious wall of silence.
Last year, the Macau Open purse was US$1.1 million (MOP8.8 million). The competition is a joint venture between the Asian Tour and IMG Media. Since 2011, the partnership has managed all TV productions and global distribution for the event, including tour-wide sponsorship agreements.