Interview: Konopiště Open 2018 – The European PDGA Major of the Year

World’s best disc golfers will return to the Konopiště castle park in the middle of the summer – July 12th-15th – to battle for the Konopiště Open 2018 champion’s title. The Tournament Director Přemek Novák will tell us what is the mood inside the organizing team.

Přemek Novák giving an interview to Czech Radio. Photo: Eino Ansio.

Přemek, only 5 months left until the tournament. How are the preparations for the event going?

PN: Preparations actually started only couple days after the last year’s tournament. We always try to thank all the involved individuals and organizations. We also evaluated what could be done better. The real preparations of this year’s Konopiště Open started in August, when we discussed the future of our tournament. The goal is always the same: make it bigger every year. Hopefully we’ve managed to do that so far.

That is true, but it is no longer a Disc Golf World Tour tournament. What happened?

PN: The reason is simple. Disc Golf World Tour is taking a break for now. It was an ambitious project that was meant to attract more players to disc golf through mass media and thus luring sponsors and partners from outside the sport. The first part was quite successful, at least in the Czech Republic. But from the global point of view, it was not enough, the DGWT’s goals were not met. However, I know that there are already some discussions with potential big partners. The Tour’s comeback solely depends on the results of these discussions. Personally, I believe it will be soon.

I must also say that we are really grateful to Disc Golf World Tour, because it put our tournament on the disc golf world map. There are 2 million disc golfers in the world and I think that (after 2016 and 2017) most of them have heard about Konopiště Open and our country is getting more attractive in the eyes of foreign disc golfers.

The staff  joins Ricky Wysocki in celebration at the end of 2017 Konopiště Open. Photo: Eino Ansio.

How hard was it to get a PDGA Major status?

PN: It has always been our dream. There were a couple PDGA tournaments that had the honor of being a European PDGA Major traditionally, be it European Open in Finland, European Masters or Scandinavian Open in Sweden. We are cooperating with Jussi Meresmaa (the main organizer of the European Open) quite tightly, so when it was decided that neither European Open or European Masters will be held in 2018, we just went for it. And it worked! Konopiště Open 2018 will be the first PDGA Major in Europe outside the Nordic countries.

I would personally like to thank everyone who helped us with any past Konopiště Open events, we could not have made it without you – from our main partner to all the volunteers. Together, we managed to push our tournament to the top.

Can you tell us what are the biggest differences between a PDGA A-tier tournament and a PDGA Major?

PN: From the organizing standpoint there are no big ones. The biggest difference are the financial demands. We must add 25% to the purse, which will bring it up to 36 000 € (~920 000 CZK). It means roughly 200 000 CZK (~8000€) which we have to raise from tournament’s partners or otherwise. The Konopiště Challenger tournament is basically a fundraiser but we think it’s also a great experience for amateur disc golfers to experience the Konopiště castle park by playing disc golf.

It was quite traditional that the DGWT had extensive media coverage: Play by play videos with professional commentary, TV reports, live online scoring. Will anything change?

PN: It is true that promotion is essential to us. It is one of the main reasons why we hold the tournament every year. I’m happy to tell that the SpinTV, which provided all the media materials for DGWT, will be covering the Konopiště Open 2018. We also have a preliminary agreement with the Czech national television about short TV reports. Online scoring will be similar, except those connected instagram videos.

Jomez Productions & SpinTV were behind the coverage in the 2017. Photo: Eino Ansio.

Plenty of disc golfers hunger for livestreams. Will there be one from your tournament?

PN: Livestream’s role in a tournament’s media coverage is often debated on numerous disc golf oriented social media sites and groups and elsewhere on the web. I must say that we want our output to be as professional as possible and it would be unbelievably expensive to make the livestream so that we would be satisfied with it. We did not find a partner that would like to help us with this particular think. But we still believe in miracles and hope dies last. Interested parties can contact me directly.

Last question: what is the tournament’s organizing team working on now?

In October, we started approaching potential partners so we can fulfill the budget which grows bigger every year and is already at 60 000€ (1 500 000 CZK). Currently we are working on the new website, accommodation options for players/spectators, and dealing with some necessary paperwork.

Last but not least, we are working on the registration process. First phase starts on February 12th!

Thank you for the interview.