Hosting The 145th Open at Royal Troon delivered more than £110 million worth of benefit to Scotland, according to an independent study announced by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon today.
The Open, which attracted 173,000 spectators to the Ayrshire coastline in 2016, delivered an economic impact of more than £64 million according to the study compiled by Sheffield Hallam University’s Sport Industry Research Centre.
In addition, the country benefited from an additional £46 million in destination marketing benefit thanks to the exposure afforded to Scotland from the Championship, which was broadcast on television in 193 territories to more than 600 million households worldwide.
The research, which was commissioned by The R&A, VisitScotland and South Ayrshire Council, concluded that Ayrshire alone benefited from spending by event specific visitors and on event infrastructure amounting to £23 million in economic impact.
Almost half of the spectators who attended The Open (49 per cent) travelled from outwith Scotland, while two-thirds of Scots spectators came from outside Ayrshire. 62 per cent of non-Ayrshire residents indicated they would return to South Ayrshire for a break within 12 months.
The Open is the world’s oldest and most prestigious professional golf championship and is held in Scotland more than any other country, on average three out of every five years. The 2016 Championship was seen as something of a homecoming for The Open, having first been played at Prestwick Golf Club in 1860, just a few miles from Royal Troon.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, who attended the Championship in July 2016, said:
“Hosting The Open is a chance to see one of the world’s most popular sports return to the country where it all started, so these are brilliant figures which highlight the huge economic benefit that bringing home such a prestigious championship has for Scotland.
“Troon is a fantastic course enjoyed by players and spectators alike, both for the quality and challenge of the course, and the remarkable scenery. However, it’s much more wide-ranging than that - it showcases Scotland’s ability to host world class events, it has benefits for local businesses and hotels - and it also inspires the next generation of players.
“We look forward to welcoming the world to Carnoustie in 2018 for the 147th Open Championship.”
Martin Slumbers, Chief Executive of The R&A, added: “The Open is one of the world’s great sporting events and generates substantial economic benefit for the host country. We were delighted with the success of the Championship at Royal Troon which delivered tremendous entertainment for the tens of thousands of fans who came along to see the world’s top golfers competing. Henrik Stenson’s victory after such a gripping duel with Phil Mickelson was one of the finest performances in the long history of The Open.”
The EventScotland team within VisitScotland’s Events Directorate leads on Scotland’s investment in golf events and has a long-running association with The R&A through its support of The Open.
Paul Bush, Director of Events at VisitScotland, said: “Scotland has a long and proud history of hosting The Open more than any other country and these figures illustrate the importance of the Championships to Scotland, not just in delivering economic impact and supporting jobs but in promoting Scotland as the Home of Golf and the perfect stage for major events to a global audience.
“The stunning pictures of the Ayrshire coastline that were beamed around the world from Royal Troon will have inspired many more visitors to Scotland. We look forward to welcoming The Open back to Carnoustie in 2018 and continuing our successful relationship with The R&A for many more years to come.”
Bill McIntosh, Leader of South Ayrshire Council said:
“The Open was a resounding success for South Ayrshire, with tens of millions of pounds of investment helping to support the local economy while marketing our area and many attractions across the world.
“The report found that 62% of non-Ayrshire residents said that they’d return here for a holiday, which is a fantastic endorsement of the welcome people enjoyed during their visits last year, something that will bring further economic benefits to the area.
“As the birthplace of Open golf, Ayrshire and Arran has a worldwide reputation for the sport, with incredible Championship venues, some of the top courses in the UK and, of course, our own eight links and parkland Golf South Ayrshire courses. We’re serious about keeping the sport alive and we’re already well placed to realise a long-term legacy from last year’s event and look forward to welcoming many more Opens in future years.”
Photo credit: The R&A