Golf’s original championship is getting going in Hoylake, England. Boardroom has all the details on the business and brands behind the 2023 British Open.
Call it the British Open or call it the Open Championship, it doesn’t matter. The brand built around the oldest major championship in golf is booming.
Backed by some of the biggest names in sports, fashion, and jewelry, the Open Championship has attained a level of prestige and commercial success that other sporting events can only envy.
And this year, in addition to a record-setting prize pool, the Open is burgeoning with some of the most established brands in the world.
Before we dive into which well-known logos you can expect plastered all over Royal Liverpool, let’s dive into the business that brings us the British Open each year.
Who’s Behind the British Open?
The Open Championship is unlike any other major in golf in that it isn’t governed by the USGA; it’s run by a collective group of companies known as The R&A.
Originally known as the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews, the R&A is responsible for organizing the Open and governing the sport on the world stage, among other things.
Based in St. Andrews, the home of golf and host of the 2022 Open Championship, the R&A, through the R&A Rules Ltd, governs the sport worldwide — outside of the United States and Mexico — on behalf of over 41 million golfers in 145 countries.
With a mission to ensure “golf is open to all,” the R&A has invested roughly $257.5 million in golf via development activities, governance of the sport, and staging of world-class golf championships.
In 2022 alone, the organization invested $27.9 million back into the sport thanks to proceeds from The Open. The record-setting income was generated from the sale of media rights to broadcasters around the world, sponsorship, hospitality, retail, and other commercial activities.
And of course, one of the chief contributors to this financial success has been the brand partnerships over the years.
Big Brand Backing at The Open
From the official beers and spirits to the credit card and footwear, there’s a bevy of brands that can boast partnerships at The Open. Organizers break up the different partnerships into three tiers: patrons, licensees, and suppliers. Here’s a look at who’s helping shine the spotlight on the Open.
- Hugo Boss
- NTT DATA
- Loch Lomond Whiskies
One of the newest brand partnerships at the tournament is with Shepherd Neame, an independent family brewer that has been named the official beer supplier. The three-year partnership puts the brand’s award-winning beer and cider on sale in bars around the course.
“Shepherd Neame has a long and cherished history as Britain’s oldest brewer and is renowned for producing award-winning beers from its home in Kent,” said Neil Armit, Chief Commercial Officer at The R&A. “We look forward to working with them during the next three years to offer our fans and guests a range of high-quality British-crafted products at the Championship.”
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