The Sunshine Tour has announced a ground-breaking sponsorship with Africa’s top golfers set to get Bitcoin prize money.
After a new sponsorship of South Africa’s Sunshine Tour at the end of the 2022 season, top African and European golfers will be looking for lucrative Bitcoin (BTC) payouts.
The Sunshine Tour is a year-long competition in which golfers fight for first place on the tour’s overall leaderboard – the Order of Merit. The Order of Merit rankings is sponsored by crypto platform Luno, which has a significant presence in South Africa and across Africa.
In sports, money talks, and the language is changing rapidly. Luno has replaced Rand-based prizes for the top golfers on the Order of Merit with Bitcoin. The winner of the Luno Order of Merit will receive R500,000 worth of BTC – equivalent to $31,000 or 30,000 Euro at current rates.
The second and third-place golfers will receive R200,000 and R100,000 in bitcoin, respectively. Luno will also sponsor every professional golfer on the Sunshine Tour with R1000 worth of BTC to encourage them to test the exchange’s mobile application.
Beginning in May 2022, the Sunshine Tour will use the new sponsorship to overhaul its rankings system from a money-based to a points-based model. This is meant to establish a more level playing field for golfers attempting to top the Order of Merit at the season’s end.
There are plenty of opportunities to win, with the top spot also including rights to two of golf’s Majors – the US Open and British Open, as well as a year-long luxury vehicle sponsorship.
Cointelegraph was at the sponsorship announcement at Houghton Golf Club in Johannesburg, where we spoke to Luno’s general manager for Africa Marius Reitz, who has helped organize a number of sports-related marketing campaigns during the last year.
“It’s interesting on a few levels, first and foremost because there is Bitcoin prize money, which is a first for South Africa and perhaps the continent. I believe it’s the first sports sponsorship in South Africa involving a blockchain firm.”
Luno intends to break new ground with their first sponsorship involving a professional golf tournament, with synergies between the two highlighted by Reitz:
“The Sunshine Tour is an established brand, they’re the home of golf in South Africa. It is a trusted guide for golfers from a young age up to a professional level. The association of trust and safety makes sense for us.”
Luno has made efforts to position itself as a trusted cryptocurrency exchange that introduces new users to the ecosystem with the help of a learning portal. The company made waves last year with a high-profile advertising campaign featuring Rugby World Cup-winning Springbok coach Rassie Erasmus teaching users how to buy BTC.
The company has now continued its exploration of the sports industry in the country – a point that Sunshine Tour Commissioner Thomas Abt believes will benefit both industries in kind.
“I think it’s fantastic when a new brand comes into the space. They have a strong backing, they want to make noise and they’ve been doing it as you’ve seen with the Rassie advert. They’ve done it well and I’m sure they will continue with the Sunshine Tour.”
Professional golfer Callum Mowat said that the skills needed to be successful in golf and in crypto are very similar. He thinks that both activities require a lot of focus and determination.
“You have to take risks as a golfer, and you must always feel that you are in the game, especially after a poor shot. I’m not too knowledgeable about cryptocurrencies, but I understand that both of them require patience.”
Reitz went on to add that while the cryptocurrency market is still in its early stages, onboarding new users and educating fundamental principles remain a top concern. The Luno Africa GM noted the importance of focusing on learning and education, with gradual exposure to broader audiences through sports sponsorships and marketing initiatives:
“Golfers think differently; they perceive risk and reward in a unique way,” says Bryant. “Every shot they make demands calculated risks. It’s the same with crypto. It’s still relatively new, and individuals will need to undergo a mental shift before they start using it in their everyday lives.”
The sports industry is still an appealing platform for cryptocurrency exchanges, service providers, and other businesses to promote their services. Crypto brands are actively involved in the biggest football leagues in the World – the UFC’s octagons and various tracks on the global Formula 1 roadshow – as well as major track events like Formula 1.