In its first year Patron of The Open, official banking partner HSBC’s ‘at event’ activation focuses on the HSBC Open Championship Golf Zone – an interactive, free experience space based on entertainment, information and utilities.
Located in the ‘Tented Village’ at Royal St Georges Golf Club, and running from 10 to 17 July 2011, the zone provides HSBC banking facilities, a full scale replica of St Andrews’ notorious Road Hole bunker, a ‘longest drive’ and ‘nearest the pin’ competition via a tri-screen simulator and a golf skills-led children’s zone.
The zone covers the equivalent of five tennis courts and the sponsors expect 50,000 visitors during the championship, another interesting feature of the zone offers spectators the chance to compare the own golf swings with those of the world’s best golfers via tracking technology FlightScope. There is also a unique opportunity to design your own Open course.
Other tech features include Information Pods. These feature iPad2s, video walls and touch screens containing data, stats and information about the competitors and the competition. A heritage section charts and explores the history of the event and it includes comparative swing test experience between old clubs and modern ones to see how equipment technology has evolved over 300 years.
Giles Morgan, Group Head of Sponsorship at HSBC commented: ‘The HSBC Open Championship Golf Zone aims to enhance the spectators’ experience, especially when many of them may already be HSBC customers. We see this new partnership as an exciting opportunity to take our current involvement with professional and grassroots golf in both established and emerging markets to a new level and where better to put this into practice than at the 140th Open Championship?’
The sponsorship is further boosted by backing and PR work from brand ambassador and two-time Open Champion Padraig Harrington.
‘I think the HSBC Open Championship Golf Zone is a fantastic addition to the Open experience and there are a number of fascinating activities that spectators of all ages will be keen to try and I’m sure will enjoy,’ says Harrington. ‘It is really in the spirit of The R&A’s activities to have embraced the idea of an interactive zone as so much of their focus is on growing and developing golf and I think this is a very innovative way of bringing many wonderful aspects of our great game to life.’
Here’s an at-event initiative that blends experiences with information and interactivity with utility – you name the trend and HSBC’s golf sponsorship team and its agencies have provided it. But only to those present at the tournament. It will be interesting to see what other initiatives the banking brand rolls out for those not able to attend The Open itself.
The Open partnership seems to fit in with HSBC’s overall sponsorship strategy which sees the brand focus on playing a role in developing and growing a game/event globally. It’ll be interesting to see if/how it applies its global reach/local knowledge to its sponsorship.
As all golfers know, local knowledge is essential (and worth several shots).