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India golf tour has no plans to change marketing firm

The rights would remain with Tiger Sports Management (TSM) which currently markets the tour, PGAI president Pawan Kant Munjal said in a statement.
The international sports management firm IMG said two days ago it was set to bid for the marketing rights to India’s fast-growing professional tour, which recently lost its major patron after a federal move to ban tobacco sponsorship in sport.
But Munjal said: “…the board of management of the PGAI clarified they have not invited any fresh bids from any party for the management and marketing of the tour.”
He said a sponsor for the new season would be announced in a few days.
Senior TSM official Brandon D’Souza said on Monday he was happy with the PGAI’s decision.
D’Souza, who had described the IMG bid as “hostile”, told Reuters his company had a seven-year contract with the PGAI that included “first right of refusal” at the end of the coming season.
But he said the rapid growth of the Indian professional tour was bound to attract rival marketing companies. “Other people are looking at it as an opportunity.”
The prizemoney for the 2001-2 tour of 23 events would rise by 2.7 million rupees ($57,434) to 20.5 million rupees ($436,077), another TSM official said.
No IMG official was immediately available to comment.
Peter Hutton, joint managing director South Asia at IMG told Reuters two days ago his company was confident of impressing PGAI with a seven-year offer worth 250 million rupees ($5.3 million).
Earlier this year, India’s golf tour was expected to face a cash crunch when cigarette-maker ITC Ltd pulled out of all sports sponsorship.
ITC was the main sponsor of the Asian PGA tour’s $300,000 Indian Open championship and also gave approximately 7.1 million Indian rupees ($151,000) for the Indian tour.
But a TSM official said on Monday it was in the final stages of finalising sponsors for this year’s tour starting in August.