RCGA: "Were very interested in the government funds"

Given the $4.7-million that a Quebec-based sports marketing agency managed to draw out of the Federal and Provincial governments for a Champions Tour event in Montreal, I thought it was worthwhile to ask Royal Canadian Golf Association (Golf Canada?) executive director Scott Simmons whether or not the events the organization ran benefited from tax dollars. Turns out they don’t, and Simmons wasn’t pleased when hearing about the Montreal tournament snaring all that government cash when his organization has regularly been turned down.

BTW, can anyone explain the link between the comments made by Quebec provincial ministers linking their cash to the 2016 Olympics? I’m still baffled by that one.

Here’s his e-mail response to the question: 

The RBC Canadian Open and CN Canadian Womens Open have both applied for government funding in the past and will continue to do so in the future.  Any funding that we have applied for has been specifically for the enhancement/improvement of the Championships and focused on generating additional visitors (Tourists) to attend the event.

In 2009, the RBC Canadian Open received $300K as part of the Celebrate Ontario 2009 grant through the Ontario Ministry of Tourism.  The money was specifically earmarked to enhance the onsite Concert Series, Spectator Village expansion, site service improvements (security, signage, fencing, washrooms, paramedics).

As well, through the Ontario Tourism Event Marketing Program the event received $50,000 to enhance marketing efforts and reach new customers, specifically out of province and internationally.  The funds helped to enhance the overall spectator experience on site and expand the reach of the Championships media plan over and above our tournament marketing plan. 

These are not considered grants (i.e. with no expectations attached) as they are programs that require a formal application, planned spending of funds and projected results, along with a formal detailed recap report following the event.   The funds received could not go towards bottom line to fund operations, rather the funding was meant to be spent over and above our operational budget on event enhancements to attract more people from a wider region, generating tourism spending.  We need to submit applications for funding on an annual basis – we’ve not received any term based grants (ie. Multi-year) as noted in yesterday’s announcement.

Having said that, were very interested in the government funds made available as part of the Champions Tour announcement and will look to explore what it could mean (as far as setting precedent) for potential funding of the mens and womens Open championship.  As you know both events make a significant economic and charitable impact in our host communities and as the NSO, the idea of funding being tied to Olympic rationale is very much of interest if that plays into the government’s future funding decisions.

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Robert Thompson

A bestselling author and award-winning columnist, Robert Thompson has been writing about business and sports, and particularly golf, for almost two decades. His reporting and commentary on golf has appeared in Golf Magazine, the Globe and Mail, T&L Golf and many other media outlets. Currently Robert is a columnist with Global Golf Post, golf analyst for Global News and Shaw Communications, and Senior Writer to ScoreGolf. The Going for the Green blog was launched in 2004.

2 CommentsLeave a comment

  • With an annual international tournament in Montreal there is no disputing that it will increase the overall awareness of golf in the province and hopefully encourage young athletes to pick up the game. It certainnly cannot hurt. And the more young athletes there are that chose to compete at high levels in golf will certainly further grow the pool of top elite golfers down the road. I am sure that is where the gov’t was going with a comment about the Olympics, and not how you have referred to it (there is a webcast online where you can hear the exact comments). I am sure they certainly know the difference amongst the Tours – but first and foremost, the city needs new big events and I have no doubt that they will pull it off. The govt invests money and recups it on all the taxes that will be spent in the city over the duration of the tournament as well as all the promo that MONTREAL will receive by being part of the Tour. Maybe the RCGA should offer them a hand and help grow the event = one less issue for them to deal with while at the same time growing the game…it seems like a logical win win?

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