SKYCITY NZ Badminton Open Reflects on Successful Week
The recent hosting of the Badminton World Federation (BWF) Gold Status Grand Prix SKYCITY NZ Badminton Open has been hailed as a success for the sport and another step up in the evolution of the pinnacle event on the New Zealand badminton calendar, with praise coming from both here in New Zealand and from the BWF.
The recent tournament attracted the best field ever seen in New Zealand, with 52 top 50 world ranked players or combinations coming to New Zealand, a quality highlighted by 8 of those players or combinations being in the top 10 in the world, ensuring an amazing spectacle for the many fans who came along to the North Shore Events Centre or watched on television here and around the world.
Event Director Julie Carrel was pleased with all aspects of the tournament but is far from resting on her laurels – instead she is already looking forward to further improving the product and carving out an established place on the BWF Grand Prix circuit.
“The SKYCITY Open was without question a lift again on what we have seen in previous years and a huge success on so many fronts. The obvious improvement in the quality of players was a key factor, but so too the engagement with fans and the smooth running of the tournament with what is now an experienced and highly passionate event delivery team. The profile was also increased through live coverage of both semifinals and finals action through SKY Sport and internationally through the distribution of IMG.”
Julie Garlick, SKYCITY Auckland General Manager – Marketing says SKYCITY is proud to support the SKYCITY NZ Badminton Open.
“The tournament is a great opportunity not only to champion and support the growth of one of New Zealand’s fastest growing sports, but also a sport that so many of SKYCITY’s customers are so passionate about.
“It was great to once again be part of the tournament this year, including holding a successful launch event on site at SKYCITY Auckland, engaging with both players and fans. We congratulate Julie Carrel and her team for delivering another successful tournament, and on the impressive worldwide TV coverage.”
BWF Major Events Manager Venugopal Mahalingam was present throughout the week and praised the tournament, Carrel and the organizing team.
“BWF wishes to thank NZBA and congratulates all involved for a job well done on the recent SKYCITY New Zealand Open 2016. I further wish to acknowledge the commitment to this important Championship as part of the BWF Grand Prix Gold Series. It is also BWF’s mission to ensure quality product and a high level of presentation is provided to our stakeholders, the SKYCITY Open has delivered to those expectations.
“Much hard work and dedication has been instrumental to the success for the SKYCITY Open. We also acknowledge the contribution of the tournament is significant to the development of badminton in this region and the presentation of this tournament was to international standard.”
Nigel Skelt is Chair of the Marketing Committee and was also at the tournament throughout.
“The feedback from the BWF has been extremely positive particularly around the presentation of the venue, all aspects of player involvement, the LOC Management team and the semi-finals and finals television product.
“It was a thrill to walk in to an extremely professional event which ran like clockwork from the opening shuttle to the last smash. I have been fortunate to have seen many Grand Prix Gold Events worldwide and I believe the SKYCITY New Zealand Open rates right up with the best.”
While pleased with the feedback and the standards reached this year, Carrel is however keen to see a further lift in the tournament and believes that its international significance has not hit home with all in New Zealand.
“We enjoyed great support from some key media partners but if there is no doubt that some mainstream outlets are still not sure how to cover the event or failed to recognise its international status and the quality of players on show, that is a reflection of the profile of the sport here but also a need for the media to better understand what was on their front doorstep.
“We know the demand and interest is there for what is a genuinely global sport. New Zealand and Auckland in particular is an increasingly multi-cultural society with interests beyond our traditional oval ball codes or western dominated sports. We would hope we can take the media on that journey with us and generate more widespread coverage of what is an amazing spectator sport, played at a world class level right here in our backyard.”
And return it will, with Carrel hopeful of confirming the return of the Gold Status Grand Prix event for a similar time in 2017, importantly to tie in with the Australian Super Series event to capitalise on players being in this part of the world.
SKYCITY NZ Badminton Open – In Review
- Women’s Singles: Sung Ji Hyun (KOR), #5 in the world, Rio medal hope
- Men’s Singles: Huang Yuxiang (CHN), #13 seed and up and coming star
- Women’s Doubles: Yuki Fukushima/Sayaka Hirota (JPN), unseeded but fast rising and Rio Olympic contenders
- Men’s Doubles: Ko Sung Hyun/Shin Baek Cheol (KOR), current # and former #3 pairing in the world and Rio medal contenders
- Mixed Doubles: Peng Soon Chan/Liu Ying Goh (Malaysia), former #3 pairing in the world and Rio Olympic medal hopefuls
52 players or combinations ranked inside the world top 50 in their chosen discipline (singles, doubles, mixed)
20 players or combinations ranked inside the world top 20
8 players or combinations ranked inside the world top 10
248 players from 26 countries in the main draw
Leading countries included: Korea, China, Chinese Taipei, Malaysia, Indonesia, Japan and India. The entry list also features strong representation from the likes of Sweden, Russia, France, Vietnam and Australia
Web traffic was up 50% year upon year, over 105,000 hits over the 5 days
Semi-finals and finals covered live on SKY Sport in New Zealand
Tournament is broadcast globally through the IMG Network
Japan alone saw a household reach of over 7 million people through J Sports Channel
The tournament enjoyed the support of:
- Naming rights partner SKYCITY
- New Zealand Major Events
- One Pure Water
- Massey University
- NZ Chinese Sports Assocation
- Barfoot & Thompson
- Rockit Apples