Wednesday 5 September 2012

£300,000 Public Spend to Sponsor Ryder Cup Coverage

According to today's Scotsman published on Wednesday 5 September "The Scottish Government’s tourism agency is using £300,000 of taxpayer’s cash to sponsor Sky TV’s coverage of the Ryder Cup in the United States this month. VisitScotland is paying the money in exchange for advertising access to Sky, owned by the BSkyB group.

A VisitScotland spokesman said: “In addition to print, digital and events the latest campaign promoting Scotland The Home of Golf, running until March 2013, includes a TV spend of £300,000.”

The Scotsman also pointedly, and without any political bias clearly, note that "A government spokeswoman said no ministers were involved in the discussions with Sky."

Previously I may have been one of those that actually would have applauded this expenditure as a good way of promoting Scotland as a golfing destination but the reality would now be a little different and I'd at least question the value of the expenditure and whether indeed it was at all necessary.

£300K is a lot of money and if it was part of a co-ordinated marketing spend tied in with proactive support from the private sector it could be seen to be providing some potential but once again it sits in splendid isolation with apparently no communication to the golf industry (neither in Scotland nor abroad) that the sponsorship campaign is taking place and therefore no partnership marketing campaigns have as far as we can identify been set up to take advantage of any traffic generated to tourist board websites or similar.

Now there may be plans afoot to relaunch the Home of Golf website hosted on VisitScotland's own platform but there is certainly no evidence of it and as members ourselves of Golf Tourism Scotland there has been no advice from that body regarding opportunities.

Golf is just a reflection of the fragmented nature of the tourism and hospitality sector in this country. There is today a committee at the Scottish Parliament looking at these headline events and their benefits but the answers will come back from those industry leaders "We're making progress", "We can't keep looking back", "There is greater collaboration", "Clear strategic objectives are emerging", "We recognise we've made mistakes but...", "We couldn't have foreseen the depth of the economic challenges" (Well yes actually we could!).

And then the committee will nod knowingly produce a report and nothing changes.

And public money will continue to be spent on trophy marketing ideas that just go nowhere. Generating awareness and interest has to have product producers ready to convert this desire to action. Clearly VisitScotland's sponsorship campaign on Rupert Murdoch's Sky has no such call to action in place.

For example, where is the Ryder Cup Promotional Toolkit that has been rolled out so aggressively for the industry for the launch of a bloody Cartoon? These are the things that could and should be within the remit of a national tourism organisation not bland disassociated sponsorship deals on UK satellite channels.

Can anyway tell us why it has to be this way?

It's not all the fault of the public sector for sure. The golf industry should be mature enough to be able to identify the opportunities and make demands of their own. They consistently fail to call publicly for real answers.

PS - There is Another Solution... Yes More Golf Strategy Workshops!

What we do know however is that even if they can't gain from the sponsorship deal, the golf sector can "look forward" to another series of strategy meetings hosted and developed by Scottish Enterprise to identify opportunities for the golf sector to maximise its potential.

Well way back in 1999 when The Ryder Cup bid was first mooted that was the key objective. To use the Ryder Cup as a catalyst for golf development at grass roots, for tourism development at all levels, for product development and to create a "golfing legacy".

Can anyone explain to me why after thirteen years of planning the golf tourism sector still doesn't have a co-ordinated public private golf structure and marketing delivery mechanism in place?

Who's to blame?

You know what we as an industry have sat back and accepted it. We are to blame.


Anonymous said...

So we are paying £300,000 to help Sky broadcast the event? Where does their coverage go? If we have to go down this route far better spend it on the US TV channel who will broadcast it in the USA.

Anonymous said...

And there is still the BIG MYSTERY of whatever happened to "The Future of Scottish Golf" Strategy.

Working Group formed in 2007 to take the first steps towards the creation of a coordinated Golf Framework. Draft strategy developed in 2009, circulated to key partners on 2010 and then just like the Arc in Indiana Jones - Raiders of the Lost Arc - its has vanished and as yet has still to be seen!!!!

Anonymous said...

Ryder Cup review carried out by Golf Tourism Scotland post Ireland. What happened to that? Why no ticket allocation to Scottish based tour companies? Unfortunately its another case of ineffective clout from two quangos that should have bit the dust ages ago : VisitScotland and EventScotland.

Anonymous said...

Call Scotland The Home of Golf? Thats a laugh. Old Course tee times at £1000 per person sold by multinational(non Scottish) company, Ryder Cup packages only available through London or US based company. And all sanctioned by a bunch of jokers who want to give 16year olds the vote.

Anonymous said...

If my fading memory serves me were there not a series of meetings with industry, VS, GTS, SGU, LGU, R&A etc to look at Ryder Cup and other things to do with golf and golf tourism. SGU given the lead. What on earth happened to that? SGU were the lead body in this????

Anonymous said...

Let me get this right - VisitScotland is using tax payer money to sponsor television coverage being shown with the UK?

So once again Scotland is being promoted to the Scots (being recipients of Sky TV) at their own expense.

And the golf industry is not involved or consulted in a campaign to promote the 'Home of Golf'.

Yup, that sounds absolutely like VisitScotland. A complete lack of joined up thinking but a constant desire to spend money to provide media stats to show they are 'doing something' and justify their existence.

They are not of the real world, where marketing and sales campaigns that don't work mean people lose jobs.

Norman Friendly said...

£300,000.00 is that all. Lets be thankful that someone in that outdated organisation didn't say lets make an animated tv series on the lives of golfers in Scotland and spend another £8 million.

So that's £8.3 million to two international multi national companies who if you asked them where Scotland is, would point the a city in South Dakota.

However I agree, because we should be at the doors of VS asking what the hell is going on. Instead no one is up in arms and we can't even get enough interest to take part in industry bodies.

Instead we let these jokers, most of whom have only had to earn a wage for five minutes, continue in situ with their cushy jobs, nice wages, all the days holiday and in lieu for every half day they work over their 38 hours and a nice plump pension.

Who are the mugs?

Anonymous said...

The chief question that needs to be answered is: How can Scotland put together a unified national marketing and advertising campaign for its golf product? Who will conceive it and direct it? Who will execute it? Where will the funding come from? Who will track and report on its efficacy?

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, I think the golf tourism product in Scotland has a lot more potential than is currently being realised. If we were any other country our efforts would lead to a bankrupt golf tourism industry. But a national strategy and outreach plan/structure is desperately needed. Can these strategy sessions help answer those questions?

Anonymous said...

Malcolm and his minions keep bringing us these top down ideas perhaps in the notion they know more about how best to promote golf in Scotland than those of us who have to successfully make a living.

As a result, they never get any new ideas and most of what they put forward is ineffective at best and half ass at worst