...it seemed pretty obvious to me that aligning Staysure with the Tour was the perfect opportunity to enhance the brand in our target demographic whilst being involved in a sport I love.
The challenge was that everything to this point for Staysure had been easily measurable and sponsorship is renowned to be difficult. As a sponsor I want to know I’m going to get a return on my investment, something I wasn’t certain would happen. During the first season I was amazed at how many people approached me having not heard of Staysure, bearing in mind we were the market leader, it really surprised me. During the two years of sponsorship, brand recognition dramatically improved, it cemented us at the top of the tree and was a perfect hit.
At the 2018 tour final in Mauritius I was speaking with the then general manager David MacLaren and I asked about the possibility of becoming an owner instead of a sponsor. He was relatively positive but thought it might be a hard slog given it was a members organisation.
Not being one to let a little challenge get in the way, I approached the European Tour Board with a proposition which I believed could truly work for them. In business it's good to look for a win win, as a win lose will ultimately end up in failure.
Keith Pelley, the European Tour CEO, was excited by the opportunity I had outlined and has been a real advocate in helping get this over the line.
So what is it that inspired me and the Tour Board? When I’m looking at business I like to think in terms of “what space can we own”? It became increasingly obvious that most money spent in golf is from the mature consumer and nobody owned over 50's golf across Europe, so what better springboard than a tour with the heritage of major winners and Ryder cup players.
The core of the proposition is actually very simple, create a brand that gives sponsors an opportunity to get a return on their investment and give their customers, employees and partners an amazing experience. Create the best amateur playing experience in golf, and go after golf related ancillary spend, like holidays, equipment, tuition etc.
Whilst the Staysure name has been a big success, it was important personally to think with my Tour hat on...thinking about the guys on our roster, McGinley, Montgomerie, Faldo, Clarke, Woosnam etc, they really are legends, so naming the tour the Legends Tour seemed a perfect fit. Staysure will still remain the main sponsor but the brand will change to Legends Tour.
We’re improving the quality of venue, putting the legends front and centre of the brand, creating a compelling TV product and will provide the new proposition to millions of mature customers that I have as part of my Group, giving sponsors an obvious enticement to get involved. I anticipate some big brands coming on board very soon.
From a playing perspective, we’ve created the Alliance Pro-Am series, which is an opportunity of a lifetime for some very fortunate golfers to play in tournament conditions and compete alongside legends going all the way to the tour final. Members of our newly created Legends Club will get to play all three tournament days, with a knowledgeable caddie, at a great venue. They will have first hand experience of what it's like in the heat of battle. There are very few places a golfer can do this in the world and nowhere can a player play several events alongside legends and go to a tour final. I’m sure there will be a waiting list for this as soon as we launch.
In addition, were going to have a celebrity charity pro-am at the Alliance events, really taking the experience up a gear. Imagine playing alongside your favourite celebrity and a Ryder cup captain or major winner, and then qualifying for the celebrity tour final pro am in somewhere like Mauritius.
As a young man I dreamed of being a professional golfer, its amazing how powerful the mind is, walking down the fairways with the guys you grew up watching is as good as it gets for me.
Ryan owns and invests in companies now spanning sport, insurance, tech, food and media. The most successful of which is the market leading insurer Staysure. www.staysure.co.uk
“The secret sauce is pushing the boundaries of business by creating a space others don't see, and going after the vision with exacting focus” www.ryanhowsam.com