HSBC ponders ending Women's Champions sponsorship

Lydia Ko of New Zealand at Hole 8 in the final round of the 2015 HSBC Women's Champions.
Lydia Ko of New Zealand at Hole 8 in the final round of the 2015 HSBC Women's Champions.ST PHOTO: SEAH KWANG PENG

BRITISH bank HSBC is considering ending its sponsorship of the Women's Champions tournament in Singapore, Asia's premier women's golf event.

It is also evaluating its association with its flagship golf tournament, the WGC-HSBC Champions in Shanghai, with both contracts expiring this year.

Speaking at the sidelines of the Sports Matters industry conference in Singapore, HSBC's global head of sponsorship Giles Morgan said: "This is our last year of our golf portfolio so we are in discussions with everybody. 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.

"Has it worked? Are we getting what we want?

"Are they getting what they want? Is the partnership working?

"And then we sit down in a room and make decisions.

"We're in the middle of that process right now."

The US$1.4 million (S$1.96 million) HSBC Women's Champions tournament has been a marquee event on the Singapore sports calendar since 2008.

It consistently boasts a world-class field, with top-ranked South Korean Park In Bee winning the latest edition in March.

Other former world No. 1s Stacy Lewis, Karrie Webb, Ai Miyazato, Shin Ji Yai and the retired Lorena Ochoa are also among the previous winners of the LPGA tournament.

Meanwhile, the HSBC Champions has been one of the biggest tournaments in Asia since it debuted in 2005, before joining the prestigious World Golf Championships (WGC) series in 2009.

The US$8.5 million event is one of four WGCs held worldwide.

The next WGC-HSBC Champions in November will be the 10th edition staged at Shanghai's Sheshan golf club.

It has also been held at Mission Hills in Guangdong province.

Past winners include Phil Mickelson and Bubba Watson.

The uncertain picture for golf comes after HSBC was hit with hefty fines over money-laundering in Switzerland and foreign exchange manipulation in Britain.

However, it 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 year's Olympics.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 18, 2015, with the headline 'HSBC ponders ending Women's Champions sponsorship'. Print Edition | Subscribe