This year marks a special time for the longstanding relationship between NTT DATA and The R&A. We are building upon our existing partnership as a patron and official IT provider to The Open, to sponsor the AIG Women’s Open for the first time.
The Women’s Open is the most international major in women's golf and is the undisputed No.1 event in the game, attracting huge interest across the world. Taking place at the historic course at Muirfield in August 2022, I’m very proud of our inaugural sponsorship of this prestigious event and am already looking forward to the years ahead of how we will work closely with The R&A to deliver unrivalled fan experiences to the women’s sport for the first time.
Over the past decade, we have formed an important relationship with The R&A, and alongside the increasing interest around women’s sports in general, sponsoring the Women’s Open was a natural progression for NTT DATA.
Increasing interest in women’s sports
Interest in women’s sports has increased significantly in recent years, with the most recent example being seen in the UEFA Women’s EURO’s, which came to a spectacular close on Sunday evening. UEFA had previously noted that the number of people watching this year`s Women’s European Championship was a record for the tournament and 58% higher than for the previous edition, which had a cumulative total audience record of 164 million viewers in 2017.
There is clearly a significant climb in interest in women’s sports, with women’s golf being no exception. Women’s golf has consistently experienced an upward trend in viewing figures over the past ten years, with the growth most strongly felt across the Asian markets of Japan and Korea.
The R&A reports that there are roughly 37 million latent female golf players in the world and has ambitious targets to convert these women into becoming players, as well as encouraging the next generation into the sport. When we heard the commendable ambitions from The R&A to transform women’s and girl’s golf, we knew that we had to be a part of helping to bring these ambitions to life.
Our commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives
As a company, we’re passionate about the DE&I initiatives we execute across the world and it’s important that this touches all aspects of the work we do. It’s well documented that the technology sector - which we operate in - has a gender imbalance and that there is a difficulty in not only attracting female talent, but also retaining such talent and nurturing women in their careers.
At NTT DATA we have a number of initiatives to counteract this, including our sponsorship of Women in Cable Telecommunications, which provides support to female leaders in the telco industry and our sponsorship of 30 women to take part in the route2work digital academy scheme to learn Microsoft skills.
Extending our work into more sponsorships which feed into our investment in equality and meaningful change within both the sporting and business worlds is of the utmost importance, and why I’m particularly proud of our first sponsorship of the Women’s Open.
The fairway to the future
As a new sponsor to the Women’s Open this year, we’re focusing on gaining a better understanding of how the Championship and the sport differs from the men’s tournament. We are working closely with The R&A on understanding how fans, both onsite and at home view the game, and how it is consumed differently to the men’s Championship.
As passionate believers in the power of sport to unite people and make change for good, and in the power of technology to accelerate that change, we will be taking our experience from other sporting events (including The Open Championship) to elevate the women’s sport and engage more fans in this exciting event over the next few years.
Right now is an incredibly exciting time for women’s golf so we are thrilled to be a part of the AIG Women’s Open. We’re looking forward to what is expected to be a fantastic event and gaining a better understanding of how our innovative technologies can help transform the game and the fan experience in the future.
The AIG Women’s Open will be played from 4-7 August. Be sure to visit aigwomensopen.com or access all the action through the official Women’s Open app, and to follow NTT DATA’s social channels to get all the latest developments from Muirfield.