Indian Sports Attract Big Money, Stars
By Riaz Haq

As India's economy, business and industry experience rapid growth, large amounts of sponsorship dollars are flowing into the various sports including cricket, football and golf. At first, most of the attention was on the big cricket stars such as Sachin Tedulkar grossing million of dollars a year. Then came the Indian Cricket League(ICL) and Indian Premier League(IPL) drawing the biggest names in cricket such as Brian Lara and Inzimam-ul-Haq. The ICL tournaments covered by Zee Sports TV channel have been a great spectacle, comparable to the NFL and MLB games in the United States. Well, the money gusher is now starting to flood Indian golf with $2.5m purse for the Indian Masters golf tournament last February in Delhi.

While a $2.5m purse is small and about the same as Qatar Masters, it represents a growth opportunity that has attracted the big names in golf including South African Ernie Els, Fijian Vijay Singh and Australian Adam Scott. "As these events draw richer and more-aggressive backers, they have been offering more prize money. In November 2009, Dubai will host the Dubai World Championship, which will feature a prize purse of $10 million, making it the most-lucrative golf tournament ever for players", reports the Wall Street Journal. It goes on to say as follows: the declining dollar has lowered the relative value of purses at U.S. tournaments, making these Asian, Middle Eastern and European gigs harder for players to ignore. When asked during his stay in New Delhi whether he expected more top players to play outside the U.S., Mr. Els quipped, "The way the dollar is going, I'm sure."

Most of the new tournaments don't match the average purses available in the U.S. or even the European Tour. In Delhi, the $2.5 million purse was about the same as in the Qatar Masters in January, compared with an average purse of $5.8 million for the U.S. tour and $3.8 million for the European Tour. But the money race in on. In November 2009, Dubai will host the Dubai World Championship, which will feature a prize purse of $10 million, making it the most-lucrative golf tournament ever for players.

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