AFP – The rapidly expanding OneAsia Tour appointed a powerful global media and marketing partner Thursday as chief executive Ben Sellenger said he was confident players would defect from the Asian Tour.
OneAsia, whose vision is to offer an alternative playing platform to the US PGA and European Tours, said it had signed a multi-year, multi-million dollar deal with the Singapore-based World Sport Group.
WSG, partly-owned by Dentsu Inc, Japan’s largest advertising agency, was formerly the Asian Tour’s media partner.
It will now market and manage all sponsorships for OneAsia, and oversee television production and distribution with a brief to push coverage into not just the Asia-Pacific, but Europe and America.
“World Sport Group has played a pivotal role in the development of Asian golf since 1995,” the OneAsia board said in statement.
“This, together with their unrivalled experience, expertise and client network in the marketplace, makes WSG an excellent partner for OneAsia.”
WSG is also the marketing partner of the Asian Football Confederation and the exclusive media rights partner of the lucrative Indian Premier League, ploughing one billion dollars into that venture.
“Asia is undoubtedly the future of world golf,” said WSG chairman Seamus O’Brien.
“Interest in golf across the region is at an all-time high, and its entry into the Olympic Games will only serve to fuel growth even further in all markets.”
OneAsia was launched in January, bringing together Tours from China, South Korea and Australia.
It has grand visions but has so far failed to get the influential Japan Golf Tour on board and is at loggerheads with the Asian Tour, which has accused it of stealing its tournament.
OneAsia announced this month an expanded schedule of 11 events in 2010, all with at least one million US dollars in prize money, up from five tournaments in its first season this year.
So far, the fields have been ordinary with the Asian Tour banning a handful of players who dared tee-off in its rival’s events.
But both Sellenger and O’Brien said they were confident Asian Tour players would ultimately go where the money was
“Our tournaments are open to Asian Tour players and we’re confident that the players will come,” Sellenger told AFP.
“At the end of the day they’ll play for money.
“Everything we’ve done is to try and maximise playing opportunities for these guys and if we can continue doing that we are very, very confident they will come.”
O’Brien added: “I cannot forsee a time when these guys are not going to tee-up for us.”