Managing Public Relations for an international sporting event -

LIFTING THE PROFILE OF A PROFESSIONAL GOLF TOURNAMENT


THE SITUATION

The organisers of New Zealand's only international professional golf tournament, decided to appoint a new consultancy to handle all media and public relations for the tournament. This coincided with the appointment of a new tournament director and relocation of the tournament to a new course in Auckland.

The requirement was for the consultancy to manage not only the publicity, but to organise the media centre and ancillary facilities and supervise applications for accreditation from all branches of the media, including photographers, radio and television journalists etc., from New Zealand and overseas.

THE PROGRAMME

The event directors, the world renowned International Management Group(IMG), requested the consultancy to provide a programme of activity which would increase spectator attendance at the tournament during the four playing days, maximising exposure for the major and supporting sponsors and establish and manage the smooth running of the tournament media centre.

International players attracted to the tournament included Nick Price, who had just won the USPGA; veteran Bob Charles, a New Zealand icon; several former winners from Australia, New Zealand and the United States, and by special invitation, the world championship winning New Zealand amateur golf team.

We organised a media conference to announce the changes to the event organisation, introduce the new director and the list of players entered - turnout to this was the biggest in years.

Subsequently, a media briefing was held at the golf course. Apart from sportswriters being given the opportunity to drive round the course, and meet golf club management and staff, a special tele-conference was arranged with Nick Price from his base in the United States.

Newsletters featuring items of interest about the tournament were sent regularly to the written press, with a good publication rate.

In the week prior to the event, a news media golf day was held at the course, followed by a dinner at the club house, with attendance by 56 news media editors, writers, photographers and commentators.

As top golfers arrived for the tournament, interviews were arranged for them on radio talkback sessions, television talk shows and with magazine writers. When accredited media arrived at the course they were presented with a full press kit, including a golf shirt and golfing information, programme of events, contact phone numbers, passes etc., and fully briefed on the location of facilities.

THE RESULTS

The tournament was won by Nick Price of Zimbabwe in a play off with an Australian. Attendance over four days was a record for the event on any course in New Zealand. The media centre functioned smoothly, with compliments received from those present on the level of facilities and assistance provided. Coverage in all branches of the news media was extensive. Our account manager's performance as media centre manager was acknowledged in writing by IMG management and the major sponsors as superior to any previously experienced at the tournament.

In 1995 the tournament was combined to form the country's major golf tournament, the AMP Air New Zealand Open Championship. Crabtree Associates was subsequently appointed to handle media organisation, including management of the media golf tournament, in the five succeeding years.