Sunday, June 26, 2011

Golf: Asia to top world in 15 years

SINGAPORE - RUNAWAY growth could make Asia the world's richest golf zone in just 15 years, outstripping Europe and the United States in a seismic shift for the sport, a senior marketing official said.

'Scary' rises in recreational players and fans will inspire sponsors to pour increasing sums into Asian events, World Sport Group (WSG) chief executive Andrew Georgiou said, describing the region's supremacy as inevitable.

'It's going to be huge. I believe in 10 years we're going to have 20-plus five to six million dollar tournaments in this market,' Mr Georgiou told AFP in an interview on Friday.

'It's just a function of time and the growth in those markets. It will make it bigger than the European Tour. I think it's probably another five to 10 years after that before it becomes bigger than the US PGA Tour.

'There's no doubt in my mind that Asian golf will be bigger, more valuable, more affluent, than the US PGA Tour over time. It's just a question of when.' Asia has risen from golfing afterthought to burgeoning power in the past decade, and now threatens to compete with the traditional bases of Europe and the United States, where the sport was born and developed.

Mr Georgiou, whose company is Asia's leading sports marketing group, said the region's accelerating wealth made it a magnet for sponsors, who will feed off improving performances from local players. -- AFP

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