What will the European Tour look like for the rest of the year?

By: May 29, 2020

Just like many other sports events, the European Tour is very interested in resuming the 2020 season and continue as business as usual.

The global value of the sports industry was estimated to be $471bn in 2018.

The European Tour has just announced plans for the resumption of the 2020 season with the launch of a new six-week ‘UK Swing’ as well as the confirmation of new dates for 4 Rolex Series events.

European Tour flag-small

Following the suspension of the season on March 8 due to the global Coronavirus pandemic, the European Tour will return to action initially behind closed doors in July and run through until December.

All tournaments will be subject to stringent safety and testing protocols set out in the Tour’s comprehensive Health Strategy which will continue to evolve, aligned with international Government guidance and health guidelines.

The first tournament in the ‘UK Swing’ is the Betfred British Masters hosted by Lee Westwood, which will be played at Close House, near Newcastle in the northeast of England, from Wednesday, July 22 to Saturday, July 25 – a week earlier than originally scheduled.

It will be followed by the English Open at the Marriott Forest of Arden and the English Championship at Marriott Hanbury Manor, before The Celtic Manor Resort in Newport hosts back-to-back European Tour tournaments – the Celtic Classic and the Wales Open.

The UK Swing will then conclude with the UK Championship at The Belfry (host venue of the 2010 Ryder Cup), another venue rich in Ryder Cup history, having played host to 4 contests with Europe triumphing in two (1985 and 2002), the US having won in 1993, with the 1989 match ending in a 14-14 tie.

Rescheduled dates have been announced for four Rolex Series events:

  • the Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open at The Renaissance Club which now takes place from October 8-11 and
  • the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth Club which moves to the following week, October 15-18.
Golf for Good European Tour

There are also new dates for the final two tournaments of the year:

  • The Nedbank Golf Challenge hosted by Gary Player is now scheduled for December 3-6 at Gary Player Country Club in Sun City,
  • with the season-ending DP World Tour Championship, Dubai, now due to take place from December 10-13 at Jumeirah Golf Estates, where the 2020 Race to Dubai Champion will be crowned.

Aside from adhering to the Health Strategy, all European Tour tournaments from July until December will also be part of the European Tour’s new ‘Golf for Good’ initiative (see picture above), a narrative which will underpin the season and one which aims to give back in three key areas:

  • Supporting the Communities where the European Tour plays.
  • Rewarding the true heroes, such as the front line workers.
  • Promoting the many health benefits that golf offers.

The ‘Golf for Good’ initiative will be launched at the new ‘UK Swing’ in July and August, six weeks which will culminate in £500,000 from the European Tour being distributed equally between charities local to the tournament venues and charities were chosen by the leading 10 players in a mini Order of Merit which will run across the six tournaments.

While the intention remains to crown a new Race to Dubai Champion on Sunday, December 13, as part of the changes to the end of the 2020 season caused by the impact of COVID-19, the European Tour’s Tournament Committee recently agreed that all Members’ 2020 Categories, and their ranking within that category, will be retained in 2021 with related playing rights being protected to the absolute maximum possible in the 2021 season.

Live streaming & European Tour: reach, sponsorship

I know that live streaming is not new to the European Tour. However, if it would like to prove the value & ROI in the sponsorship of European Tour events, then it should invest and involve more in it.

Here is an interesting finding of Invoke (a real-time market research company) about streaming service (e.g. Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, Disney+) usage in the US:

  • 75% of respondents (80 percent of those age 35 and younger) are watching more streaming content than before the pandemic struck.
  • 73% said they prefer content from established services like Disney+, Amazon Prime, Hulu, and Netflix.

In Europe, the usage of Netflix and YouTube was so heavy that the had to reduce the streaming quality for a while to prevent internet collapsing.

Nielsen came to similar findings and conclusions. They found the time spent on streaming platforms grew by 34% over two weeks in the beginning of March.

In 2020, the TOP3 streaming service providers are:

  1. Netflix – the are simply the best!
  2. Amazon Prime Video
  3. Hulu

Although the situation caused by the coronavirus crisis is getting better, but I hear that it might return in Fall/Winter 2020 again.

To do list for the European Tour
  1. Try to find ways to cooperate – at least – with one of the TOP3 streaming video service providers and/or with GolfTV* (by Discovery Golf);
  2. Be a true multichannel media producer. Produce compelling content for golf fans who are interested in the European Tour events.
  3. Develop a deeper fan relationship and exceed their expectations at various touchpoints.

*GolfTV can be an interesting partner from 2024 when major, European countries will be able to enjoy it: UK, Sweden, The Netherlands, Germany, France, Norway, Finland, Denmark, Italy, Belgium, Spain, Portugal, and Poland.