Standard Life, Europe’s largest mutual life assurance company with assets exceeding £56 billion, is to be the new title sponsor of the Loch Lomond World Invitational golf tournament (to be called “The Standard Life Loch Lomond”).
The European Tour event will receive the multi-million pound backing of one of Europe’s leading companies for three years with an option to extend the agreement for an additional period.
The Standard Life Loch Lomond will be played at Loch Lomond Golf Club on the world renowned course on July 8-11 this year, the week immediately prior to the Open Championship.
Already one of Europe’s leading golf tournaments with a prize fund of £850,000 (1997 - £800,000), the event attracts the majority of the world’s leading players. Event organisers expect up to 80,000 spectators to visit the Club in July, with tournament coverage being beamed to a world-wide television audience of more than 400 million. Seventeen million viewers watched the event in 1997 on BBC Television in the UK.
The tournament sponsorship is the first stage of a £35 million advertising and promotion campaign over the next years by Standard Life. In return for its Loch Lomond investment, Standard Life will benefit from title rights to a tournament which has emerged at the forefront of international golf, world-wide awareness through media coverage and direct access to an audience which closely matches the profile of one of the company’s key target customer groups.
Lyle Anderson, partner of Loch Lomond World Invitational Ltd, said: “This is one of the most significant investments in European golf - certainly this decade. It is clear that both Standard Life and our event share much in common. Standard Life is growing rapidly on a number of international levels, likewise, we have always positioned our golf tournament as an international event, and we have been fortunate to attract a world-wide field which enjoys world-wide exposure. Standard Life brings the event a great company with an established local and UK presence, and yet is expanding quickly across the globe. As our event continues to grow, we are pleased to have a partner who shares this global vision.”
Tom King, Director of Corporate Affairs, Standard Life, said: “We believe, whether or not they take advice, that people will more and more rely on their impressions of the size and reputation of a company when making a choice for their financial needs. We want them to appreciate that they can have confidence in our financial strength and reputation. Loch Lomond is one of the world’s most prestigious venues with an outstanding reputation for quality and I believe that this sponsorship will allow us to illustrate these strengths more readily.”
Ken Schofield, Executive Director of the PGA European Tour, said: “Standard Life will, as title sponsor, further enhance the reputation of a tournament which has already produced two outstanding champions in Thomas Bjorn and Tom Lehman. It is a delight to work with Lyle Anderson, the President of Loch Lomond Golf Club, and Jim MacDonald, Chairman of Carnegie Sports International, who together with us share the same desire to provide the highest standard of golf events at the best locations in Europe. We welcome Standard Life to the family of European Tour sponsors, and look forward to a superb edition of the Standard Life Loch Lomond in July.”
Jim MacDonald, partner of Loch Lomond World Invitational Ltd, said: “We are delighted to have secured a sponsor of this stature. The agreement is wonderful news for both the event and, we believe, world golf. It is our intention to develop the relationship between the event and Standard Life in order to produce one of the best sporting occasions in the world. We share a similar customer focus based on excellent value and service and this quality aspect will remain the key ingredient in everything we do.”
The tournament, jointly owned by Loch Lomond Golf Club and Carnegie Sports International, was founded in 1996. Danish rookie Thomas Bjorn won the inaugural event and last year American Tom Lehman was victorious.