The BMW New Zealand Open, a tier one event on the PGA Tour of Australasia, will be held from March 12 to 15 at The Hills and Millbrook Resort in Queenstown.
Hart said: “BMW Group’s commitment to international golf is globally renowned and highly successful, and we are delighted to have such a magnificent global brand as a long term partner.”
With almost 30 years of supporting golf events around the world, the BMW New Zealand Open will run alongside events such as the BMW Championship, the BMW PGA Championship, the BMW International Open and the BMW Golf Cup.
“The announcement is a natural extension of BMW Group’s support of golf in New Zealand and we’re thrilled to be recognised as naming rights sponsor of the 2015 BMW New Zealand Open,” said Nina Englert, the Managing Director of BMW Group New Zealand.
Hart believed that securing BMW Group as the naming rights sponsor makes a statement of support for the unique format of the reinvigorated Queenstown-based tournament.
“The BMW New Zealand Open is the most unique National Open in the world, being played in a Pro-Am format across two magnificent courses,” he said.
“BMW Group is a huge supporter of major golf events around the world and we’re delighted that they have added the BMW New Zealand Open to their impressive list of events.”
It was also announced that the tournament prize money will increase to a new level of NZD$1 million, solidifying the championship as one of the pre-eminent golf tournaments in the Asia-Pacific region.
Minister for Economic Development, Hon. Steven Joyce, confirmed that the Major Events Development Fund will invest $700,000 per annum in the BMW New Zealand Open in 2015 and 2016. Government will also make a one off investment of up to $250,000 per year towards television production and distribution. This will be matched by Michael Hill Tournaments Limited, the event promoter, to ensure a live broadcast to a world-wide audience and to support wider commercial objectives.
The tournament will be broadcast live in New Zealand by Sky Television and also in Japan to eight million homes through the Japan Golf Network. Additional international broadcast partners are still to be confirmed but will include distribution throughout Australia and around the world with an expected reach of 200 million households.
Hart said the addition of live television would provide Kiwi golf fans with extensive coverage of one of New Zealand’s oldest sporting events (the BMW New Zealand Open dates back to 1907).
New Zealand technology company Animation Research Limited will lead the television production of the event and is regarded as one of the most innovative companies internationally in this sector.
The Kiwi company, owned by Ian Taylor, is involved in golfing events around the world including the Ryder Cup, the PGA Championship, the Open Championship and all the events on the European Tour.
“We look forward to incorporating our technology into a broadcast that will showcase the golf tournament, celebrity golfers on show, and also the incredible vistas of Queenstown,” said Taylor.
The BMW New Zealand Open, in addition to being sanctioned by the PGA Tour of Australasia, will continue its strong partnership with the Japan Golf Tour Organisation (JGTO) for 2015. A total of 15 spaces will once again be reserved for leading JGTO professionals.
“We look forward to welcoming a quality field of professional golfers to play for one of the biggest prize purses ever seen in New Zealand,” said Hart.
“We very much appreciate the continued support the tournament has received from the Government, locally from the Queenstown Lakes District Council, and from New Zealand Golf. The introduction of live television has taken the event to a new level with increased investment and support from sponsors both here in New Zealand and offshore.
“We welcome back and thank our existing family of sponsors Hilton Queenstown, Michael Hill, Milford Track Guided Walks and Rebel Sport. We also pay special tribute to Sir Michael Hill, with his ongoing personal commitment and underwrite support which has been fundamental to the event reaching this stage of its development.”
World No.2 Lydia Ko has been a central figure in the tournament’s success and she will be the highest ranked player in the field for February 27 to March 1 but she is not alone in her world class standing.
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