The creation of a sports brand at 120 M€


In the blink of an eye and with the signing of a long hosting contract with the K Club – the Irish Open has gone from a golf tournament that has sometimes struggled with certainty, to a confident sporting mark of 120 million euros.

Such confidence will see sponsorship fees for the Horizon Irish Open more than double over the next six years, bringing the valuation of the tournament’s commercial partnership to almost €50m, with up to €70m added through media visibility and public relations.

For the K Club, which will host three of the next six tournaments, The Pitch estimates the brand image of Kildare’s upscale hotel and country club will reach up to 800 million people, adding up to 40 million of brand value at the 2006 Ryder Cup site.

Cash transactions via sponsorship fees are essential for the DP World Tour and Golf Ireland – who can now expect the value of the commercial partnership to increase to around €7.5 million per tournament, thanks to the investments d’Horizon and other associates.

This week’s announcements at the K Club by the DP World Tour signal the resort’s rebirth as an international tournament venue following past successes at the Ryder Cup, European Open and Irish Open .

The hotel and country club were bought two years ago by nursing home magnate Michael Fetherston for what now looks like a 65 million euro bargain.

Horizon Therapeutics’ investment, which could reach up to €30 million in cash, can also represent extraordinary foresight over the life of the agreement – a sponsorship that is now one of more durable in all sports.

Asked by The Pitch about the strategy and certainty behind such a long-term partnership – six years is an extraordinary length of time for any business deal of this type – the company’s chairman and CEO, Timothy Walbert, said that the duration was “appropriate”.

“(The sponsorship duration) is a great signal of the growth in golf we’ve seen coming out of the pandemic, and a great sponsorship opportunity through to the Ryder Cup, and we’re so excited,” he said. declared.

There is also a significant opportunity to sell the other announced tournaments that the K Club acquired this week – three Challenge Tour events – the ‘Irish Challenge’ which take place alternately with the Horizon Irish Open, at the second Palmer course in the station.

Although this is the second tier event of the DP World Tour – with an average prize pool of €250,000 – the three Challenge Tour tournaments should be well attended by purists, and a number of speakers at the K Club last Monday spoke about Irish fans. enthusiasm for golf tournaments.

Back in the big leagues, the Horizon Irish Open is now the sixth richest golf tournament to be played in the overall DP World Tour schedule, with three of the top events played in the UAE.

In Europe, its €5.6million purse is only behind the Genesis Open (Scotland) – which takes place four days later – and the BMW PGA Championship of England at Wentworth in September, both benefiting from 7.5 million euros in prize money.

Such cash injections could attract some of the big game hunters from the United States, who will come for the JP McManus Pro Am, which resumes its traditional Monday and Tuesday slot after the Irish Open, and which now has been restored as a staple. in the sports calendar.

The conclusion to an extraordinary week in golf is that the more invested in valuable sporting assets, the greater the returns in overall brand and reach.

The public relations rating alone for the K Club is “almost priceless”, according to Jill Downey, MD of Core Sponsorship.

“This is very valuable media and PR exposure, which will sit very comfortably north of €10m when you take everything into account for both the tournament itself and the K Club” , Downey explained.

So who is likely to fill the two vacant years from a venue standpoint? Druid’s Glen may be unlikely to get a glimpse, despite privately expressed ambitions from the club – which is undergoing a major redevelopment – to host the Irish Open in years to come.

According to Irish Open tournament director Simon Alliss, the two missing venues are likely to be in the North, with Portstewart, Royal County Down and possibly Lough Erne vying for vacant places 24 and 26.

Those involved in selling Irish golf overseas are hoping golf courses will be added to the scheme, which is currently home to the crown jewels of Ireland’s park courses, with Mount Juliet and now the K Club.

Whoever gets the green light, the horizon of Irish golf has become much brighter.


You may not have noticed, but the biggest names in sports media are extremely nervous.

This is due to being locked in a battle for the most valuable assets in any sport – even if the outcome is a foregone conclusion.

RTÉ, Virgin Media TV and Sky Sports are all awaiting the outcome of the decisions that will form their strategic planning calendar for the next six years, to be delivered within the next two weeks on behalf of UEFA tournament rights holders and FIFA.

RTÉ Sport is set to win the rights to broadcast World Cup and Euro football tournaments for the next six years, including Euro 2028, in the largest number of rights ever awarded to European broadcasters.

Marathon negotiations between UEFA and the bosses of the 55 national broadcasters across Europe – including, it seems, Russia – have been underway for almost two months, with a decision on the Irish TV deals considerably delayed.

RTÉ and Virgin Media have been awaiting a decision for almost a month now but negotiations have been fierce, particularly if you see what happened in the UK where England football rights came as a major surprise.

Last Friday, Channel 4 secured the license to broadcast England’s six Nations League matches, which will take place at the end of this season and the start of the next – an extraordinary victory over traditional sports broadcasting giants, including the BBC, ITV, BT Sport and Sky.

In Ireland, Nations League rights are set to be retained by Sky Sports, which took over after friendlies were largely upgraded to become Europe’s third most important international football competition.

The Republic of Ireland will play six matches between June and October against Scotland, Ukraine and Armenia.

A source told The Pitch that “the status quo should remain”, which would mean RTÉ would get the World Cup and Euro tournaments, as well as the free-to-air rights for the two qualifying rounds of the tournaments.

The new rights packages – excluding the Nations League which starts in June – will come into effect once the World Cup ends in Qatar before Christmas.

In August 2017, RTÉ obtained the authorizations to broadcast the free Euro and World Cup qualifiers, as well as Euro 2020 – which took place last year – and the World Cup finals of this year.

Sky Sports also broadcast the World Cup qualifiers live, but it’s unclear if the broadcaster is in on the action this time around, beyond the Nations League.

The current negotiations relate only to men’s international rights, with women’s agreements being concluded separately.

Expect a few twists and turns before a final decision is made by those responsible for broadcasting European football in Nyon.


Basketball fans here will have been captivated by Adam McKay’s Sky Atlantic drama on “The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty.”

The drama, based on real events from the “Showtime” era — but with some fictional license used for dramatic effect — was heavily criticized by Lakers legends Earvin “Magic” Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

However, most of the criticism has come from former coach Jerry West – whose figure is the image that forms the NBA logo – was slammed by HBO, which produced the show.

The company said this week it has no plans to honor West’s request for a retraction of his portrayal which he called “cruel” and “deliberately false.”

West appears on the show as an angry, drunken, bitter former coach with a number of chips on his shoulders.

Perish at the thought that such characters exist in real life.


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