NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 19 – Pan-African financial institution Absa Group Limited, which operates in Kenya as Barclays Bank, will invest more than Sh220 million in the Kenya Open Golf tournament over the next two years.
The announcement was made at the Karen Country Club, where this year’s Kenya Open Golf Championship will be held from March 14 to 17 with the money split between operational costs of the event.
Sh150 million will be injected into the tournament, equivalent to Sh75 million each year while the remaining Sh70 million will be used to further amplify the profile of the event.
Barclays Kenya has been a sponsor of the Kenya Open tournament for the last eight years, six of those as title sponsors.
Announcing details of the new sponsorship, Barclays Bank of Kenya Managing Director Jeremy Awori said the investment will build on the successes of previous years to further improve the profile of tournament and coincides with the Open being elevated to Elite European Tour.
Following this elevation from the Challenge Tour, the total prize money has more than doubled to Sh124 million (1.1 million Euros).
“For the past eight years, working hand-in-hand with the Kenya Open Golf Limited, we have grown the stature of this tournament and turned it into an asset not only for the golfing fraternity, but for the country,” Awori said.
“We would like to sincerely thank Kenya Open Golf Limited (KOGL) for according Absa the opportunity to partner together in opening up Kenya, and indeed Africa, to the world through this tournament. Jointly, we are creating a bigger, bolder tournament with global acclaim, using a distinctly African way of getting things done – that’s Africanacity, that’s Absa,” Awori said.
With elevation to the main European Tour, the tournament will attract a much larger audience both in the number of people coming to the Karen Country club as well as those following through traditional and social media.
The tournament will be broadcasted nationally through local media and across the world on international channels including SkySports News, Supersport, Fox Sports, Golf Channel among others, reaching at least 490 million homes.
“As business, we are in a transitional phase that will see our operations across the continent adopt the Absa brand by June next year, giving us an opportunity to leverage our rich African heritage and understanding of the continent to drive initiatives to unlock Africa’s potential and support its accelerated growth,” Awori stated.
“That is why we feel honoured to have played a central role in helping the Kenya Open attain this prestigious status; to take its place among the world’s best golf tournaments,” Awori added.
Speaking at the event, Kenya Open Golf Limited (KOGL) Chairman Peter Kanyago welcomed the renewed and enhanced sponsorship by Absa Group.
“We are delighted to be extending our partnership with Barclays Bank of Kenya for the next two years and look forward to a more fruitful engagement as we continue growing the stature of the Kenya Open Golf Championship.”
We particularly thank the Board and Management of Barclays Bank of Kenya for its continued support and assure them of our commitment to continue working together through this partnership to help them attain their objectives,” Kanyago said.
“With the attainment of the European Tour status, it is our conviction that this year’s tournament will prove a worthy partnership for Barclays Bank of Kenya, and indeed, all our sponsors,” Kanyago added.
Absa’s association with sports sponsorship is long-standing. Absa has been the official sponsor of one of the continent’s biggest football tournament – the Absa Premiership League since 2007, which has seen the growth and development of local and foreign soccer players and coaches within the league.
Absa also currently sponsors the Absa Cape Epic, an exhilarating eight-day off-road mountain bike stage race that takes place annually in South Africa’s Western Cape Province.
As a precursor to the main tournament, KOGL has lined up several activities including the ongoing Safari Tours which feature professional golfers and amateurs. The Safari Tours also featured a golfers’ clinic conducted by the Professional Golfers of Kenya targeting junior golfers as well as Barclays Junior Eagle account holders. Barclays has sponsored the Safari Tour Series to the tune of Sh3 million.