Topgolf entertainment expanding to Asia, starting with China

15, Sep. 2021

Topgolf Chengdu will be the company's first outdoor multi-level entertainment venue to operate in China. (Photo: Topgolf)
Topgolf Chengdu will be the company's first outdoor multi-level entertainment venue to operate in China. (Photo: Topgolf)

By Celine Chen

SHANGHAI, NNA - Topgolf Entertainment Group, which has promoted the game-changing concept of golfing in a party and dining venue in 70 locations in five countries, is expanding to Asia, starting with China and then Thailand.

Topgolf Entertainment Group (Topgolf) and its developer partner, Sports Entertainment Asia Ltd (SEAL), will open The Lounge by Topgolf in Shanghai, China on September 14.

SEAL will build the world's largest Topgolf in China, an outdoor, multi-level entertainment venue in Chengdu in late 2022.

Topgolf venues, the first brand experience created in 2000 by Topgolf Entertainment Group of the US, typically feature climate-controlled outdoor hitting bays, high-tech gaming, a restaurant with gourmet food, a sports bar with hand-crafted cocktails, as well as corporate and social event spaces.

What began as a simple idea to enhance the game of golf has grown into a movement which brings people from all walks of life at the crossroads of technology and sports entertainment.

The expansion into China now brings Topgolf venue operations to a total of six countries, including the US, the UK, Australia, Mexico and UAE (Dubai), Topgolf said in a press release.

In addition, Topgolf franchise developers have construction efforts underway in Thailand and Germany.

Excited by the Shanghai opening, Topgolf CEO Artie Starrs, said, "The SEAL team has created a stunning indoor Lounge by Topgolf experience in Shanghai and is also poised to bring a truly innovative and technology-driven outdoor venue concept to Chengdu – both of which are sure to bring the sports entertainment experience to a new level for the communities across the region."

Located near Shanghai's People's Park, The Lounge by Topgolf Shanghai is an all-indoor 2,000 sqm entertainment space with an 'East-meets-West' design inspired by the cultural, creative and contemporary hub of Shanghai and the People's Square.

Offering a 9-hole mini-golf experience and Pan-Asian food, the lounge also has swing suite bays with simulator technology for virtual games, and VIP rooms.

The venue, which can accommodate 300 people, is the second such lounge to be opened following the debut of the concept in Kirkland, Washington in January, 2020.

Topgolf Chengdu will be located in the city's emerging Tianfu Greenway Belt which is integrating urban greenery, preservations, leisure facilities and tourism services under a new initiative.

The sprawling 12,000 sqm venue will have a three-floor entertainment complex with a sunken plaza,104 outdoor hitting bays, VIP rooms and indoor simulator bays.

It will also have facilities for kids, mini-golf and a variety of food and beverage options, including an all-day dining concept, a Chinese restaurant, and a premium steakhouse cum seafood restaurant.

"Topgolf Chengdu will be the largest Topgolf venue in operation upon opening, and is set to be the first of many Topgolf venues planned across Asia," said the press release.

Nicolas Chapin, managing director of SEAL, said, "Introducing the iconic Topgolf experience at our first flagship venue in Chengdu builds on the brand's momentum as a sports entertainment leader. We are set to create unforgettable moments for consumers of all ages that over 20 million guests from across the world already experience at over 70 Topgolf venues every year – from Las Vegas to the Australian Gold Coast, and from Miami to Dubai."

Eva Wang, VP of real estate development of Topgolf China believes the Shanghai and Chengdu venues will be ideal for "people of all ages to spend the day with family and friends".

Earlier this year, Topgolf Entertainment Group merged with the Callaway family of brands and is now a wholly owned subsidiary of Callaway Golf Company, a tech-enabled company producing golf equipment, apparel and entertainment, with a portfolio of global brands including Callaway Golf, Odyssey, OGIO, TravisMathew and Jack Wolfskin.

Buoyed by a strong recovery, Callaway's Q2 2021 consolidated net revenue jumped $617 million to $914 million. Golf equipment and soft goods revenue surged 98 percent to a record $588 million while Topgolf overperformed with $325 million in revenue, the company reported in August.

The global sports market reached a value of nearly $388.3 billion in 2020, having increased at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 3.4 percent since 2015, said The Business Research Company.

The market fell from $458.8 billion in 2019 to $388.3 billion in 2020, mainly due to pandemic lockdown and social distancing measures imposed by various countries.

The sports market is expected to recover, reaching $599.9 billion by 2025, and $826 billion by 2030, said the research company.

SEAL, which is the exclusive developer for Topgolf across Greater China, is led by the principals of Parkview Entertainment & Leisure, JLM Financial Partners (JLM) and Chaucer Global.

Tony Hwang of the Hong Kong-based developer Parkview Group serves as chairman of TG SEAL. JLM, led by Larry Meyer, Trey Owen, Jeff Ezell and Andrew Hirsekorn, is an Austin-Texas private investment firm focused on multi-unit and scalable businesses in the US. and Asia in the health and wellness, lifestyle-entertainment and recreation segments.

Chaucer Global, whose founder Joe Canterbury played a key role in expanding Starbucks coffee joints across Asia and the world, invests in early-stage consumer brands and franchise concepts.