Singapore - HSBC is considering ending its
sponsorship of its flagship golf tournament, the WGC-HSBC Champions in
Shanghai, as the contract expires this year, a senior official said.
HSBC global head of sponsorship Giles
Morgan said the British bank was currently evaluating its association with the
$8.5 million event, one of four World Golf Championships (WGC) held worldwide.
Morgan added that sponsorship of the HSBC
Women's Champions in Singapore, one of the US LPGA tournaments played in Asia,
was also under review.
"This is our last year of our golf
portfolio, so we are in discussions with everybody," Morgan said on the
sidelines of the Sports Matters industry conference in Singapore.
"We'll make announcements when we've
decided and figured (it) out. Contracts come to an end. So you then have to go
through a process of doing quite a lot of analysis about has it worked, are we
getting what we want, are they getting what they want? Is the partnership
"And then we sit down in a room and
make decisions. We're in the middle of that process right now."
The HSBC Champions has been a highlight of
the Asian golfing calendar since it debuted in 2005, before joining the
four-stop World Golf Championships series in 2009.
The next WGC-HSBC Champions in November
will be the 10th edition at Shanghai's Sheshan golf club. It has also been held
at Mission Hills in Guangdong, southern China.
The World Golf Championships are among the
most prestigious tournaments in the golfing calendar. Winners in China include
Phil Mickelson and Bubba Watson.
Morgan said that HSBC's sponsorship of the
Women's Champions was "all part of the same conversation". He did not
offer a timetable for any announcements.
The bank also sponsors the British Open and
the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship.
"At the moment we're really focusing
on the (Shanghai) tournament because it's looming up fast, (it's a) World Golf
Championship and it's been such a good year for this new generation of
golfers," he said.
The uncertain picture for golf comes after
HSBC was hit with hefty fines over money-laundering in Switzerland and foreign
exchange manipulation in Britain.
"It was our turn to face quite a lot
of short-pitched bowling," Morgan said.
However, HSBC has also become the main
sponsor of the rugby sevens world series, with new stops coming up in
Singapore, Sydney, Paris and Vancouver, ahead of the sport's inclusion in next
"I think it's an exciting time. Rugby
sevens probably is the form of the game which will allow rugby to go global more
quickly," Morgan said.