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‘Hackers provides a definitive return’

At first glance, giving a bunch of celebrities and journalists an all-expenses paid trip to Bermuda to play in a golf tournament hardly seems like a reasonable use of the Department of Tourism’s dollars.

However, dig a little further, and the raison d’être for the second Hackers Cup not only becomes glaringly obvious, but also appears eminently sensible.

“When [Sir] Steve Redgrave says [in print] ‘I love Bermuda’, that’s worth a lot of money,” said Mike Winfield, who, along with his brother, the late Peter Torry a former Fleet Street columnist, was one of the brains behind the event.

Sir Steve, a five-time Olympic gold medallist, will lead a celebrity team against a team of well-known, British print and television journalists, in next week’s event, and Mr Winfield expects the exposure generated for Bermuda overseas to more than justify the outlay.

“There are so many events that people come to tourism for,” he said. “We’re now at the point having to really ask the question, ‘does this [event] provide a return?’. And I think Hackers provides a definitive return.

“If you look at the exposure we got in 2011 [from the first Hackers Cup], and saw the major articles that appeared, and on the supposition that we are in the business of getting word of Bermuda into the market that can afford to come to Bermuda, this fits it perfectly.”

Getting the word out is just part of it. With a glut of destinations all competing for the world’s dwindling travel budget, Mr Winfield believes this sort of event will help Bermuda stand out from the rest.

“This is a pure public relations event,” he said. “But, I think editorial is always more powerful than advertising, and when you get editorial backed by recognised names endorsing the product the multiple effect is extraordinary.

“I think with this unbelievable confusion of, so-called, competitive destinations, putting yet a better picture in an advert, or on the television, with yet another beautiful beach, somehow you have to separate yourself from the pack.

“And the way to do that is with events, and editorial that starts to talk about the character of Bermuda. As opposed to the two-dimensional you get a three-dimensional feel for it.”

As it stands, Tourism are just one of three groups sponsoring the event. British Airways and Fairmont Southampton are also on board, providing significant backing for a tournament Mr Winfield ultimately wants to expand to include both sides of the Atlantic.

“This is a huge commitment [BA have made]. I don’t know of anything that compares to the commitment that BA have made to this,” said Mr Winfield. “To get their commitment is pretty significant. So they’re saying, we think this has real legs. Fairmont grabbed it, and they are incredibly positive too.”

* The Hackers Cup will be played over two days (April 10-11) at Tucker’s Point and Port Royal Golf Club. Sir Steve Redgrave, the celebrities, and journalists, will also play in an AMAM at Fairmont Southampton’s Turtle Hill Golf Club on Monday, April 8.

Places for the AMAM cost $200 a person, anyone interested in playing should contact Liz Ward: emw@ecbermuda.com.

Sir Steve Redgrave (left) and Peter Corrigan in action during the Hackers Cup tournament at Port Royal Golf Club in 2011.

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Published April 01, 2013 at 9:00 am (Updated April 01, 2013 at 12:53 am)

‘Hackers provides a definitive return’

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