Chief Executive, the Ladies European Tour
A piece of advice for everyone in the business of sport: this year, you should take the time to monitor the progress of the Brazilian golfers Miriam Nagl and Victoria Lovelady.
Not only are they two of the most promising talents on the Ladies European Tour, Miriam and Victoria are potentially the most compelling argument for sports marketing in 2016. Few athletes can demonstrate the selling power of the Olympic Games, and sport generally, than Brazil’s leading women golfers.
The obvious context is golf re-entry in to the Olympic Games in Rio this summer. It’s in everyone’s interest that the host nation performs well in the medal table, but golf is not a sport one associates with Brazilian sport. Far from it: In a country of 200 million people, fewer than 20,000 are registered golfers.
That’s a number that we at the Ladies European Tour want to change and Rio 2016 offers a once in a lifetime opportunity for women’s golf to reach and excite a new generation.
Miriam, Victoria and the other players have a chance to seize this opportunity to sell not only themselves, but the game of golf, to a new audience.
At Rio 2016, a television audience of billions will get the chance to engage with women’s golf for the first time. But it goes far beyond television. Rio 2016 will be the most technologically advanced Olympics ever. People from Mumbai to Melbourne will consume women’s golf wherever and whenever they choose and they will seek out their local heroes.
Russian sports fans will gather to cheer on Maria Verchenova, whereas China’s vast sporting audience will follow the exploits of Shanshan Feng with enormous interest. Danish people will read about Nicole Broch Larsen in their morning papers and young Czechs will tweet Klara Spilkova their support.
The Games offer a great chance for these players and by extension, The Ladies European Tour. This is because LET will represent the majority of the golfers competing for medals.
This reflects the fact that we are a truly international tour with a diverse constituency of countries represented among our member players.
We all know the Olympic Games is the greatest show on earth. We don’t need to be reminded of its unprecedented power to reach people around the world in huge numbers.
It’s my sincere hope that come Rio 2016’s Closing Ceremony, we’ll be able to offer the LET’s hand of friendship to a new generation of golf fans who have been inspired to try out our great game.
Let the Games begin.