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Business Of Golf: Beyond Expectations - Australian Golf Digest Business Of Golf: Beyond Expectations - Australian Golf Digest

As preparations are finalised for the second edition of LIV Golf Adelaide, executive tournament director Nick Haslam gave an insight into the remarkable success of the inaugural event

Rarely does a sporting event live up to the hype. Yet the inaugural staging of LIV Golf Adelaide at Grange Golf Club broke the mould for ticket sales, merchandising and how to attract a younger demographic to sporting events.

Forever etched into Australian sporting folklore will be Chase Koepka’s ace at the ‘Watering Hole’ that sent beer cups flying into the air. The American’s hole-in-one at the par-3 12th went viral on social media and was the catalyst for LIV Golf Adelaide being acknowledged as World’s Best Golf Event of the Year 2023 (World Golf Awards).

Masters champion Jon Rahm shall add to the spectacle of this year’s tournament (April 26-28). Overall spectator capacity is forecast to surpass 30,000 each day, having recorded 77,076 attendees across four days last year.

Corporate hospitality has increased from 3,200 to 4,100 packages. Some 2,250 tickets have been allocated to hospitality tents surrounding the ‘Watering Hole’. Tickets to the Shark Shack next to the teeing area of the Watering Hole have sold for $425 a day.

LIV Golf Adelaide is an acute logistical operation for executive tournament director Nick Haslam, who has the task of sating a sports-mad nation starved of top-shelf golf.

Australian Golf Digest: How would you describe ticket sales?

Nick Haslam: Incredibly strong. We are 300 percent up, year-on-year. Corporate hospitality sold out for the ‘Watering Hole’ within the first few days. Then all corporate hospitality sold out within the first two weeks, which is unheard of for a golf tournament. The hospitality capacity increased by 30 percent and we still sold out. Grounds [tickets] are selling very well. We expect the event will again be sold out with an increasing capacity from the prior year.

The big event that we’ll be doing – as we did last year – is the Welcome Party, which will be on the Wednesday night (April 24), and we’ll be expecting about 750 capacity. That’s a big corporate event and all the players will be there.

Golf is a great vehicle by which to conduct business. What’s been the level of corporate interest in LIV Golf Adelaide?

We’ve had really strong corporate interest from partners that were involved in the 2023 event and would like to be returning in 2024 as well as a number of others… You’ve seen Jon Rahm come out and talk about how – of all the tournaments – he’s looking forward to Adelaide. As a result, we’ve had interest – not only from people wanting to attend – but from corporates wanting to be involved, even suppliers, food trucks and volunteers. We’ve had in-ound enquiries in record numbers from the moment the Adelaide event in 2023 finished.

Why do you think you’ve had so much success selling the corporate packages?

Because Australians love golf. It’s the second-biggest participation sport in the country and we’ve never consistently had the best golfers come to Australia. Then, No.2, it was an incredible event last year. People could see how good it was and they want to come back.

What sort of feedback did you have from corporate types? What did they get out of it?

They enjoyed all of it. They loved the music. They loved the party atmosphere. They loved the level of catering. I’ve had a number of people tell me it was the best corporate event they’ve ever been to. I’ve had people tell me it was better than Super Bowl.

In terms of corporate entertainment, they probably haven’t been to anything better. You can watch golfers come [through], but then you’ve still got a minute to chat [with] clients and friends. Unlike other sporting events where you might be watching what’s happening on the field the whole time and you’re not really socialising. You can do both.

Does LIV Golf Adelaide lift the bar for every other sporting event?

Cleary I’m biased as I’m the executive tournament director, but I’ve been fortunate to attend a lot of events and I don’t know of a better one. It caters to so many different types of people and a number of different age groups, which is what’s unique about it as opposed to other golf tournaments that start at 7am and go to 6pm.