Leisurecorp’s ground-breaking free ticket scheme for The European Open proved an enormous success, with close to 90,000 spectators coming through the gates of The London Golf Club during four days of action.
Frenchman Christian Cévaër, 196th in The Race to Dubai entering the week, overcame a star-studded field to win Leisurecorp’s first tournament of 2009 as last year’s attendance was smashed by more than 30,000 people.
Leisurecorp, a division of Nakheel Leisure and partners to The European Tour in The Race to Dubai, assembled one of the strongest player fields so far this season with Sergio Garcia and Henrik Stenson, two of the world’s top five players, both on display. US Masters champion Angel Cabrera, last year’s Order of Merit winner Robert Karlsson, young sensation Rory McIlroy, and defending champion Ross Fisher also joined an impressive line-up.
The offer of free admission was extended to include all four days of this year’s tournament following the success of ‘Free Ticket Thursday’ at last year’s European Open, which pulled in nearly 24,000 spectators, and free admission at the South African Open in December 2008, which attracted record crowds to Leisurecorp’s Pearl Valley Golf Estates.
George O’Grady, European Tour chief executive, said, “We have run this tournament in association with our partners Leisurecorp in Dubai. It‘s really important for The European Tour that we have tough partners who stick with you and who believe in the dream. We certainly listen to a lot of marketing ideas from Leisurecorp.
“The crowds have been tremendous; it sends a very good signal to people who perhaps have not been fully interested in golf before. It‘s a wonderful day out for the family.”
Leisurecorp also used the opportunity this week to announce its first official sponsors of the Dubai World Championship, with Rolex, the world’s leading watch company, and Polo Ralph Lauren, one of the most established fashion brands in the world, both becoming partners for a sporting spectacle that will be attended by thousands and watched by millions around the world.
Hamza Mustafa added, “These initial announcements demonstrate that even in a challenging market, the world’s leading brands will always recognise the value in the world’s leading sports events. To attract brands such as Rolex and Polo Ralph Lauren emphasises the stature that the Dubai World Championship already carries in the sports world.”
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