RCGA president Garry West said he was the happiest person in the [photopress:conference.jpg,full,alignright]room this afternoon, and well he should be — after nailing down Royal Bank for a five year sponsorship for the Canadian Open. The deal essentially guarantees the future of the event through 2012, and my sources say it was upwards of $4 million per year, but less than the reported $5 million Bell was paying.
My thoughts on the deal are this:
- Has there been a better and more effective RCGA president than West? He cleared the decks earlier this year by removing Stephen Ross as executive director and then nails down a deal with RBC. The only issue I see was the decision to head to Glen Abbey two years in a row for the Canadian Open. If West nails down St. George’s for the Canadian Open in 2010, his presidency will be nearly perfect. I say West for one more year so he can establish a course rotation for the tournament.
- Good for Scott Simmons. The RCGA’s new ED has made a big splash in a few months and deserves some recognition for getting the deal done. I’ve been critical of the RCGA in the past, but they should be applauded for the RBC arrangement.
- RBC’s chief brand officer, Jim Little, was the same man who two years ago announced Bell Canada was pulling out of the Canadian Open. Little, who was with Bell at the time, joined RBC six months ago.
- It appears that one of the conditions of the RBC deal is that the bank will be more active as a sponsor — at least that’s what Little indicated: Make no mistake, we will be an active partner of the RBC Canadian Open, he said. We will be an active partner of its strategic plan and an active steward to make sure theres accountability for results.
- Scott Simmons, the RCGA’s (relatively) new executive director said one of the agreements between RBC and the RCGA is that money made from the event will be reinvested back into the tournament. Simmons said money will no longer be used to fund other RCGA initiatives — which is interesting, but also means other tournaments, like the Canadian Amateur, will have to run on a break even level. Simmons said where the money that used to run into RCGA coffers will go has not been decided.
- In September, Korean company LG Electronics announced it was pursuing the title sponsorship. Sources say the companys offer was taking too long to close and was lower that RBCs offer. Little seemed to chuckle when the LG deal was mentioned in a question by a reporter.
- No one seemed to directly state the deal would bring a better field, but tournament director Bill Paul suggested it would be easier to get at the top players now.
- A new date seems very unlikely. “Why would the PGA Tour give the Canadian Open a new date now that they’ve sold RBC on the existing one?” a source questioned.