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BTA committed more than $30m in deals linked to sport

At the Butterfield Bermuda Championship at Port Royal Golf Course, the Bermuda Tourism Authority placed a Bermuda sign on the 15th hole (File photograph by Blaire Simmons)

More than $30 million has been committed over the past four years by the Bermuda Tourism Authority in deals linked to sport, the quango’s latest contract information showed.

The highest expenditure listed was a $17.86 million agreement from April 2019 to the end of March 2024 with the PGA Tour to sponsor the Bermuda Championship golf weekend.

Others included a $6.18 million contract with the US Open Tennis Championship from August 19, 2019 to the end of December 2021 and a $4 million deal with F50 League (Bermuda) Limited for a SailGP hosting agreement from January 18, 2022 to the end of May next year.

The figures were in two lists of BTA contracts that were each worth at least $50,000, published in the Official Gazette.

A BTA spokeswoman said last week that “driving sports tourism continues to hold its place as a key pillar of Bermuda’s National Tourism Plan”.

She added: “The BTA looks forward to building on our strategic partnerships with international partners such as SailGP, USA Track and Field, PGA Tour and World Triathlon to align with sports-loving audiences in golf, endurance, team sports and athletics.

“Bermuda boasts a robust sports tourism calendar for fall and will soon roll out the growing list of on-island and international partnerships for winter and spring 2023.

“This is critical to our plan to further propel sports groups and events for the country’s tourism recovery.”

The records showed that the professional services firm KPMG was signed up for $78,699 over about four years to carry out an economic impact study of the Bermuda Championship.

A report by the company said that $4.4 million of public funds was spent on the 2021 golf event — $3.7 million in BTA sponsorship and $700,000 contributed by the Government for public works and transport — which resulted in an estimated overall impact on the island’s economy of $11.9 million.

Total economic impacts of the 2020 and 2019 events were reported to be an estimated $13.2 million and $18.4 million, respectively.

The agreement with the US Open Tennis Championships meant that the BTA was its official tourism partner over three years.

The authority’s spokeswoman said: “We count the partnership as a success that yielded solid visibility for the destination through commercial advertising, on-site messaging, court branding and immersive courtside experiences.

“We engaged third-party media experts Nielsen to measure the success of the multiyear partnership and in 2021 Bermuda Tourism Authority’s sponsorship assets generated $16.5 million in value during the 2021 US Open including $10.7 million, or 84 per cent, of total value coming from the TV visible assets.

“According to Nielsen, the US Open social media and digital media captured nearly 22 million impressions across various digital channels.

“The US Open activation took place in New York City, our largest source market. Meanwhile, a substantial portion of TV exposure generated for the Bermuda brand hit other key markets including Canada and the UK.”

She added: “Our US Open contract ended in 2021, as planned, and having told our stories to millions of viewers and thousands of stadium spectators, we are confident we delivered on our objectives — to build awareness, tell the Bermuda tennis-origin story and drive visitation.”

The Royal Gazette asked if the BTA, which was awarded a grant of more than $20 million in the 2022-23 Budget, knew how many people visited the island as a result of the partnership but no response was received by press time.

When the sponsorship was announced in April 2019, a BTA spokesman said: “ … as a general rule, marketing partnerships of this kind must generate at least a 5:1 return on investment for Bermuda to be even considered, so for every dollar spent the BTA seeks at least $5 returned in estimated value or economic impact — and in most cases the ROI is higher than 5:1 when a post-event analysis is completed.”

In addition to the $4 million SailGP contract, an earlier agreement with F50 League (Bermuda) for $750,000 ran from November 2020 to May 2021.

The BTA’s 2021 Visitor Arrivals Report pointed out that hospitality events associated with the sailing event in April that year were cancelled owing to public health restrictions as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

It said: “The outcome of decimated SailGP visitor arrival numbers was a sharply reduced on-island spend.

“Nonetheless, SailGP's economic infusion still made a significant impact of $5.7 million.”

Latest published sports-related contracts logged by the BTA

Bermuda National Athletics Association — July 20, 2019 to May 1, 2020, sponsorship of Carifta Games: $100,000

F50 League (Bermuda) Ltd — November 19, 2020 to May 5, 2021, SailGP hosting agreement: $750,000

F50 League (Bermuda) Limited — January 18, 2022 to May 31, 2024, multiyear SailGP hosting agreement: $4 million

PGA Tour Inc — April 1, 2019 to March 31, 2024, multiyear sponsorship of Bermuda Championship: $17,862,020

KPMG — October 23, 2019 to December 31, 2023, economic impact study — Bermuda Championship: $78,699

US Open Tennis Championship — August 19, 2019 to December 31, 2021, multiyear sponsorship agreement: $6,181,800

New York City Football Club — January 1, 2022 to December 31, 2024, multiyear marketing agreement: $504,400

PGA Magazine — March 1, 2022 to February 28, 2025, promotion of Bermuda golf: $540,000

Royal Bermuda Yacht Club — February 1, 2022 to July 30, 2022, sponsorship of Newport Bermuda Race: $150,000

Astra Partners — January 30, 2022 to May 1, 2022, hosting agreement for Xfinity USATF Bermuda Games: $100,000

Bonnier Corporation — January 1, 2022 to September 30, 2022, media placement and sponsorship of Bermuda Triple Crown Billfish Championship: $100,000

International Leisure Marketing — September 1, 2022 to December 31, 2022, sponsorship of Bermuda Goodwill Golf tournament: $50,000

Clipper Ventures — June 11, 2019 to June 30, 2022, host partner agreement: $250,000

Royal Bermuda Yacht Club — December 20 to 31, 2021, Clipper Race facilities agreement: $157,640

Hamilton Princess & Beach Club — June 8 to 22, 2022, accommodation for Clipper Race: $200,441

World Tens Series Inc — October 14, 2020 to November 7, 2020, Rugby World Tens hosting agreement: $50,000

Total value: $31,075,000

Other sports partnerships included links with the Carifta Games, Rugby World Tens, Bermuda Triple Crown Billfish Championship, New York City Football Club and the Newport Bermuda Race.

The tourism measures for the third quarter of 2022 — the most recent compiled figures on the BTA website — said that 825 air visitors had travelled to the island for sporting events by the end of September last year, up from 151 at the same point in 2021 but a 65.6 per cent decrease on the pre-Covid figure of 2,401 in 2019.

A number of other contracts were included in the lists, such as for marketing and public relations services, air and cruise exit survey research, and recruitment consultancy.

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Published January 09, 2023 at 4:24 pm (Updated January 09, 2023 at 4:24 pm)

BTA committed more than $30m in deals linked to sport

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