Kuala Lumpur: The Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) has pledged to work conscientiously to maintain the Malaysia Open’s status as a Super Series Premier tournament through the RM24 million sponsorship boost from Celcom Axiata Bhd.
Malaysia were given the privilege to host the Super Series Premier, highest accolade for badminton tournaments in world, from 2014-2017, but the BAM need to impress the Badminton World Federation (BWF) in this year’s edition that will be held from April 5-10 at the Malawati Stadium in Shah Alam.
BAM acting president Tan Sri Mohamed Al-Amin Abd Majid said the Celcom Axiata Malaysia Open 2016 serves as the review period to remain as one of five countries to host the series from 2018 onwards.
“We are foreseeing an exciting Malaysia Open. We will be reviewed on a few factors like customer (audience) satisfaction, response from VIPs, response from players, response towards hospitality as well as marketing. We will make sure it will be successful with our new marketing strategy and approach.
“Advantage or key points of the tournament is to get the top 10 players from world and this year, Malaysia Open also serves as the Rio de Janeiro Olympics qualifier,” he said when announcing the three-year partnership with the Malaysia’s leading data provider, here today.
Mohamed Al-Amin added that the BAM had increased the total prize money from US$500,000 (about RM2,000,950) last year to US$550,00 (RM2,201,045) this year, while players from 25 countries have confirmed their participation.
The other four Super Series Premier events are the All-England, China Open, Denmark Open and Indonesia Open, while the host for next term will be introduced next year.
BAM general manager Lawrence Chew confirmed that the RM24 million sponsorship (RM8 million a year for three years), will be used for organising the Malaysia Open, development of players as well as to send players for international competitions, improve rankings and paying incentives.
“The review for the Super Series Premier will be done every four years, where the first and second year is ok to do mistakes but the third year is vital, therefore we have to be very careful. BWF will decide by end of this year,” he said.
Meanwhile, Celcom Axiata Bhd chief executive officer Datuk Seri Shazalli Ramly said besides the RM24 million sponsorship which will take effect on April 4, the company will also spent a minimum of RM10 million for the next three years on promotional activities to ensure the sports reached the whole country.
“We will also meet Uber on the possibilities to support us in easing the transportation needs of the public to watch the 2016 Malaysia Open,” he said.
The official agreement between Celcom Axiata Bhd and BAM was inked today at Perdana Putra and witnessed by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, his wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor and Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin.