Magical Kenya Open 2024: Patrick Obath explains why golf attracts lucrative sponsorships

Wednesday, February 21st, 2024 16:49 | By
Magical Kenya Open Tournament Director Patrick Obath in an interview. PHOTO/Mediamax Digital
Magical Kenya Open Tournament Director Patrick Obath in an interview. PHOTO/Mediamax Digital

The value input of the week-long Magical Kenya Open 2024 tournament is astronomical and experts value it in the region of USD 20 million in net advertising value.

This revelation emerged during a Mediamax Digital exclusive interview with the Magical Kenya Open Tournament Director, Patrick Obath.

Key factors for golf

Obath emphasized that one of the key factors distinguishing golf from other sports in Kenya was its ability to effectively communicate and sell the business case to sponsors and investors.

This strategic approach has evidently played a significant role in elevating the status and commercial viability of golf events in the country.

"What is happening, over time, is that a lot of sponsors coming onboard, particularly to the MKO have seen value in golf and they want a piece of the stake. You have to make a business case and prove viability and that is what we have managed to achieve in the past decade.

"When you activate a brand and there is global television to boot, then naturally there is going to be return on investment for every coin spent," Obath offered.

It has been reported that about 500 million households are expected to tune in over the week as the tournament runs at the Par 71 Muthaiga Golf Club. With these numbers, plus a global TV audience, all corporates are angling to make a mark.

"With an increment of prize money, definitely you attract the best of the best players. We have five former champions with us in this year's edition and that says a lot about the growing stature of the event.

"With an investment of 20 million dollars, it is assured that in four days with rights sold to an international television, the return will be fourfold, which is good business.

"If we can raise the prize purse to around 3.5 million euros, then we see us even break gold which will be outstanding," he added.

Obath has also witnessed growth in the Kenya Open event following the days of the Challenge Series right up to its current status of DP World Tour. It came with lots of niceties that directly impacted the economy of sports in Kenya.

"What transpired was huge because then it meant for the duration of the tournament, we were allocated four hours of prime time daily which investors had an opportunity to showcase their brands and products.

"As a country, we have been blessed to witness such margins that can only be dreamt of. With hundreds of tourists travelling to see what we offer here, it means our great sights are sold and we earn good revenue. The whole value chain is accommodated and every player in the sector within a certain period benefits in such events and this is part of what we sell as Kenya Open Golf Limited (KOGL) to potential sponsors," Obath stated.

Is golf an elite sport?

The veteran administrator has also rubbished the notion that Golf was still elitist and therefore the proper overall growth in the country was being curtailed.

"Nothing could be further from the truth because, over time, we have seen a lot of players even from the underprivileged communities get a chance to engage and make a living off the sport.

"We have so many caddies and players today who came from the bottom and now making it in golf. This was a colonialist mindset but today it is changing.

"About 6-7 years ago, there were only 7000 golfers in Kenya but today we have more than doubled that figure, and now we are at 16000 in number. It shows there is commitment and deliberate efforts by all stakeholders to develop the structures and systems," he explained.

Additionally, Obath praised the efforts of the Junior Golf Foundation and Kenya Golf Union in promoting tournaments for young enthusiasts.

"When we get them young, it is easier for us to train and nurture the players to greatness' and JGF has done well in partnerships that have seen Kenya host some top-level tournaments while also getting invitations for some events abroad," he said.

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