Posts Tagged ‘Marketing and PR’

LIV vs. PGA: How the Issue of Sportswashing Has Thrown the World of Golf into Disarray

June 16, 2022

The creation of the LIV Golf Invitational Series has sparked huge controversary and casts real
doubt over the future of golf.

This new golf tour is financed by the Public Investment Fund, the sovereign wealth fund of Saudi Arabia. You may recognise the Saudi PIF, as it was also in the news late last year after its purchase of Premier League club, Newcastle United.

The LIV Golf tour, along with the purchase of Newcastle United, has sparked much public debate because it is seen as an attempt at sportswashing by the Saudi Arabian regime and its Crown Prince, Mohammad bin Salman.

Sportswashing is a relatively new concept, but the term itself derives from the more familiar ‘greenwashing’. The process of an organisation spending more time and money on marketing itself as environmentally friendly than on actually minimizing its environmental impact.

Sportswashing is just as deceitful as greenwashing. Sportswashing is the practice of an individual, group, corporation, or government using sports to improve their reputation, by either hosting a sporting event, the purchase or sponsorship of a sports team, or direct participation in the sport itself. For world leaders, the practice of sportswashing is a strategy of reputation management. It is being increasingly adopted by countries with historically poor records when it comes to human rights.

In the case of the LIV Golf Series, it is Saudi Arabia and its leadership that has come under intense media pressure within the sports world. Saudi Arabia is a particularly repressive regime, with an appalling human rights record. For those living in Saudi Arabia, ‘freedom of expression, association, and belief’ are not seen as basic human rights.

People who defy the rules of the Saudi regime, can suffer dire consequences as a result. The Saudi Crown Prince, Bin Salman, has been accused of committing several high-profile crimes including the killing of journalist, Jamal Khashoggi, in 2018.

Given the distance in belief systems from the Saudi regime and those of us in the West, it is surprising that so many prominent and successful golfers have agreed deals to participate in the inaugural LIV Golf Series. Some of the players that have committed to participate so far, include the likes of Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson, Louis Oosthuizen, Sergio Garcia, Bryson De Chambeau and Ireland’s own Graeme McDowell. All of those mentioned above are previous Major winners.

On the back of their participation in the Saudi PIF funded LIV Golf Series, all LIV players have been suspended from participating in PGA Tour events.

When questioned on their participation in this new tournament the LIV rebel golfers have rubbished claims that they hold any responsibility for allowing the Saudi regime to use the sport of golf in their own sportswashing game. Graeme McDowell argued at a LIV press conference that “as golfers if we tried to cure geopolitical situations in every country in the world, we played golf in, we wouldn’t play a lot of golf.” This remark, in turn, could be seen as a dig at golf’s traditional PGA Tour. Another Irish golfer, Rory McIlroy, has hit out at the LIV Golf Series on numerous occasions over the last few months and has backed the PGA Tour’s decision to suspend those participating in LIV events from the PGA. “I certainly don’t envy them, but I’ve always felt this is the best place to play golf, and I still believe that”, McIlroy said speaking to the media after winning the 2022 Canadian Open.

The establishment of the LIV Golf Invitational Series, along with the participation of some of golf’s most decorated and celebrated players has shaken the world of golf over the last week. Those players subsequent suspensions from the PGA Tour have led to speculation that they could be banned from playing in future Major tournaments and even, the Ryder Cup. Any ban from participating in golf’s four Majors and the Ryder Cup could signal the death of golf as we know it.

The ever-increasing debate around sportswashing will continue to fracture long-standing relationships in golf and across the world of sport, as this important societal issue continues to come to the forefront of not just sport, but business, civil and political society.

The issue of sportswashing will begin to show the true characters of our favourite sports stars, clubs, and competitions. The more instances of this kind, the more our loyalties will be tested as sports fans.

Is everything and everyone for sale, including our reputations?

Dylan

Dylan Morley is a Junior Account Executive with Fuzion Communications, a full service Marketing and PR agency with offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland.

All Figured Out

May 21, 2021

Your 20’s are strange years, some of my friends are still in college finishing their degrees, others have great jobs in different counties and countries, and a few have brought beautiful children into the world.

Although I’m only three years in, the most prominent learning of my 20’s is that there is no clear path to adulthood.!

People change, which includes careers, families, relationships and interests. I don’t think there is one single point in anyone’s life that signals you’ve entered adulthood, but believe me when I say alarm bells were ringing loudly in my head when I noticed I was receiving Dunnes Stores Clubcard vouchers in the post!

We seem to be under the impression that a simple age cutoff such as turning 18, or a celebration like a college graduation should make us feel like adults. After all, there are certain privileges that come with crossing those thresholds, the right to vote, to purchase alcohol, drive a car etc. Why do we assume that the years between 16 and 23 are the years that you must get everything set up for the rest of your life to fall in place?

I was given my first car when I was 16, a Ford Ka, a beautiful piece of engineering if you ask me.

Before even completing my first driving lesson, I was signing myself into a contract with an Insurance company for a comprehensive package coming in at €3,200 for the year. I remember the monthly payments cost €260, all my hard earned money was gone into insurance for a car that was probably worth €400! Hindsight is great though, now I can look back and be proud of myself for being able to learn to budget from a young age and manage that considerable outlay. I should really write a letter to Axa and thank them!

I know people say they don’t have it all figured out either, and that you shouldn’t worry about the future but it’s difficult when there seems to be such a structured way of doing things. School – College – Job – House – Husband – Child, it just doesn’t seem like a chain that should be broken when you’re at this age.

I love that people are learning to rebel against the ‘rules’, going back to education at a later age, not buying a car because public transport suffices, having children when they feel it’s the right time and so many more examples.

There is no clear path to adulthood and from what I’ve learned so far is… not to worry!

Everything will fall into place, I might be biased because I’ve only recently downloaded ‘The Secret’ on audiobooks so I’m really trying to stay positive about everything!!!

You should try to be too…

Heather

Heather Lordan is part of the Marketing and PR team at Fuzion Communications

Heather Lordan

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