Sponsorship gives Hong Kong Scottish chance to ‘bloom’
With four accountants from the Highlands in their ranks, Hong Kong Scottish general manager Dave Whiteford is confident the newfound wealth the club has generated through their landmark tie-in with Bloomberg will be money well spent as they look ambitiously towards the future.
Money talks in this town and Hong Kong Scottish, living up to their prudent genealogy, are the last of the Paul Y Premiership teams to display a title sponsor on their shirts.
“The biggest sponsorship deal we have ever had by a considerable amount”, says Whiteford, will be used mainly to augment their challenge for top honours next season. But at the same time, the grassroots will not be forgotten with plans to take the game to every nook and cranny down Shek Kip Mei way.
The target is to acquire a crop of players who have plied their trade as professionals in the UK, with back-row players and outside backs on the shopping list to “significantly improve” the squad.
Opponents beware, The Rock next season will become harder to breach.
Happily, it is not only about life at the top for Hong Kong Scottish. Whiteford promised that the larger community would also benefit with a campaign aimed at discovering fresh home-grown talent.
“We have a duty as professional clubs to ensure we do our bit for the community and look to develop the next Salom Yiu Kam-shing or Charles Cheung [both Hong Kong internationals],” says Whiteford.
Hong Kong Scottish will launch their own community coaching programme, with backing from the Edinburgh Napier University, in the hope it will increase interest in the game in Shek Kip Mei.
“We want to be seen as a shining light in the Sham Shui Po region so young kids aspire to play for Hong Kong Scottish when they grow up,” adds Whiteford.
All this is because Bloomberg has come on board – the big carrot in the deal being the Hong Kong Sevens as it will now have access to a box at Hong Kong Stadium.
Every club has a 36-seater box at the Sevens which they can use to woo and entertain sponsors.
The Hong Kong Rugby Football Union must take credit for this – allowing all the leading clubs to attract blue-chip backers. And with a corporate box at the Sevens going at a premium, I’m sure they are lining up at the door.
But the canny Scots have struck a good deal, with Bloomberg being an interested party not only once a year during the Sevens but also committed to showcasing the sport through its media channels during the season.
The club will appear on Bloomberg TV in a number of features and Whiteford revealed the company also wanted to have a hands-on role with the sponsorship and as such will make efforts to disseminate the team’s results throughout the company’s staff.
“Hopefully, it will have a knock-on effect on membership of the club and attendances at The Rock,” says Whiteford.
So you’d better pull your socks up, you Hong Kong Scots, and come up with more consistent performances in the coming season.