Times Colonist

Sponsorshi­p key to successful Times Colonist Open


Keith Dagg, marketing director for the Canadian Tour’s Times Colonist Open, recently heard PGA Tour veteran Steve Stricker mention in an interview that he will never forget his first victory as a pro in 1990 at Victoria.

Right then it hit Dagg that this is a venerable Victoria sporting institutio­n — the 25th Times Colonist Open is next week (June 12-15) — and worth preserving. Some major steps have been taken in that regard with the Times Colonist stepping up as the major title sponsor for five more years and Uplands signing on as the home of the event also for the next five years.

But a secondary tier of sponsors is crucial to make up the remainder of the annual $350,000 budget and the contracts for those expire at the end of this year’s Open, with Dagg hopeful those companies can be re-signed or new ones found.

“Victoria is such a great sports town in so many ways, but when it comes to profession­al sports, we have the [ECHL hockey] Salmon Kings and we have the Times Colonist Open,” said Dagg.

“The TC Open lands this city on the Golf Channel, which is seen around the world. You can’t put a value on that. The companies and corporatio­ns of Victoria need to make sure that this event continues on into the future because this is such a good thing for Victoria on so many levels.”

Nobody is arguing with that assessment, although every three years Dagg must work his butt off to secure the second tier of sponsorshi­p that is needed to keep the Open open for business on the Canadian Tour.

“Why do we keep fighting to keep this event going?” asked Dagg.

He answered himself by pointing to the list of past winners, which includes several players who have springboar­ded from this level to the PGA Tour.

“That’s why we fight to keep this alive. It’s a tremendous thing for Victoria to be associated with such an event,” said Dagg.

The volunteers will be pulling down the tents and stuff at Uplands following the final round of the 2008 Times Colonist Open on June 15. But Dagg’s work will just be starting.

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