Publicity boards are a win-win situation for sport and sponsors

PUBLISHED : Friday, 03 August, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 03 August, 2007, 12:00am

Christopher Hammerbeck, of the Royal British Legion, criticised the hoardings in Statue Square ('Ads should not be in square', July 25).

I want to express a different view on this issue. Being the chairman of a national sports association and a sports promoter, I always feel obliged to find more commercial sponsors to support the development of sport, knowing that subvention from the government can grow only moderately.

There are many opportunities in the commercial sector from which the sports community can seek support to sustain and develop its activities, both at elite and at community levels.

In the past, the Leisure and Cultural Services Department was conservative in offering its venues for advertising purposes, which was a great waste.

The publicity boards recently set up in Statue Square to promote the East Asian Games, and to recognise its sponsors, are a good way to attract more commercial corporations to join in the sports programme. They also help lift the profile of various sports locally and internationally. It is definitely a win-win situation.

While there is a consensus to encourage our youngsters to take up sports for health reasons, we should not discourage those social enterprises which are willing to support them through advertising.

Making use of the readily available resources at the department's venues, namely the advertising spaces, is on the one hand, the best way to save the public money. On the other, it lets the commercial enterprises contribute to community giving.

Squash and other sports have benefited from such joint efforts by the department and commercial sponsors. Without them, we would not have been successful in organising major international tournaments which have attracted thousands of visitors to Hong Kong over the years.

The Central District has always been a mixture of finance, commerce, politics and culture, and I do not see any major conflict among these elements. In fact, the present setting at the seating area has no adverse effect at all on the solemnity of Statue Square.

David Y. Y. Mui, chairman, Hong Kong Squash