Rome has secured its hosting rights for the 2022 Ryder Cup after the Italian Golf Federation (FIG) officially signed an 11-year agreement with Infront Sports & Media today for event management, marketing and digital rights of the country’s flagship events.
The agreement will cover a total of 129 events, including 11 editions of the Italian Open, 88 events of the Italian Pro Tour and 30 events in the "2022 Road to Roma" project.
Ryder Cup 2022 director Gian Paolo Montali had warned last month that Italy could lose the hosting rights for the Ryder Cup if they did not deliver €97 million (£82 million/$103 million) of guarantees in the next two weeks.
That deadline was missed but the Government's Council of Ministers agreed to help fund the event at the Marco Simone Golf and Country Club, 17 kilometres outside Rome, following a meeting on Tuesday (April 11).
Italian newspaper Gazzetta dello Sport claimed the €97 million funding package will cover a 12-year period from 2017 to 2028.
But €40 million (£34 million/$43 million) will be guaranteed through the agreement with the Swiss-based Infront, a company of Wanda Sports which is described as the world’s leading sports business entity.
This means the Government will be responsible for only €57 million (£48 million/$61 million) of the funding.
It is claimed the new agreement corroborates the diversification strategy of Infront Italy.
"This landmark agreement demonstrates that the federation shares common goals with us - success through long-term commitment," Stephan Herth, executive director of summer sports at Infront, said.
"Italy was able to thrive against strong other bid countries.
"With the Ryder Cup 2022 taking place in Rome, Italy shows that it can attract and host major and high level events.
"We are excited to walk this path together, boosting golf in Italy while offering fans, sponsors and broadcaster the best possible experience."
Luigi De Siervo, chief executive of Infront Italy, added: "The partnership signed today with the Italian Golf Federation represents an important step for Infront, especially in Italy.
"Long-term agreements allow us to work steadily, and have a significant impact on the development of this popular sport - both from an economic point of view as well has in terms of expanding the profile from a grassroots level.
"Through our international network, sports marketing expertise and digital skills, we will bring significant benefits not only financially, but also in terms of attracting high-profile international brands and promoting our country and its characteristics to the world."
Some Italian politicians had campaigned against the country hosting the Ryder Cup because they claimed it was a waste of resources which could be spent on other priorities.
Rome’s bid for the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games faced similar opposition before it was withdrawn last September.
The FIG has estimated that it will cost them €150 million (£127 million/$159 million) to host the biennial event between Europe and the United States but that ticket sales, sponsorship and merchandise will raise €170 million (£144 million/$181 million).
Italy was awarded the 2022 Ryder Cup in December 2015 after beating rival bids from Austria, Germany and Spain.
Dubbed as "golf's greatest team event", Europe has only hosted the Ryder Cup outside of the Great Britain and Ireland once, at the Club de Golf Valderrama in Spain in 1997.
France are due to stage the tournament at Le Golf National in 2018, a course near to capital Paris, which is bidding for the 2024 Olympics and Paralympics along with Los Angeles.
The 2020 Ryder Cup is due to be staged in the US at the Whistling Straits in Kohler in Wisconsin.