10/12/2019

The Open Generates £100m For Local Economy

There's few events from the last year that will be as memorable as the 148th Open in years to come, when Royal Portrush played host to tens of thousands of visitors who watched on as Irishman Shane Lowry lifted the Claret Jug.

While the region enjoyed hours of global television coverage and praise for the event, which returned for the first time in 68 years, the lasting economic benefit for the region has now been totalled at over £100 million.

The figure was revealed by an independent study commissioned by the R&A and carried out by Sheffield Hallam University's Sport Industry Research Centre (SIRC).

A breakdown of the figures showed that £45m of new money entered the economy, while the region gained an extra £37.3m in destination marketing and benefits after over 5,400 hours of global television coverage.

An additional £23.7m has been identified by Tourism Northern Ireland in Advertising Equivalent Value for Northern Ireland Golf Tourism monitored in other media coverage across the island of Ireland and internationally.

The figures are in relation to the week of The Open alone and do not include economic benefits accrued in the years following the Championship.

The SIRC study - which was commissioned by golf's governing body The R&A and supported by Tourism Northern Ireland and Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council - also concluded that the Causeway Coast council area alone received a £26.21 million injection of new money from The Open.

Martin Slumbers, Chief Executive of The R&A said: "The 148th Open at Royal Portrush made history as the largest sporting event ever to be held in Northern Ireland and generated a substantial economic benefit.

"The return of the Championship to Royal Portrush was eagerly anticipated and we enjoyed a hugely memorable week where we welcomed tens of thousands of spectators to an outstanding championship venue to witness Shane Lowry lifting the Claret Jug."
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John McGrillen, Chief Executive Tourism NI added: "The 148th Open at Royal Portrush was a ground breaking event for tourism in Northern Ireland and its success further demonstrates Northern Ireland's ability to seamlessly deliver world class events which have a very positive impact on the local economy.

"Behind the scenes a huge partnership effort across Government, Causeway Coast and Glens Council, PSNI, Translink and Tourism NI delivered an unforgettable week for players and spectators alike."

David Jackson, Chief Executive, Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council said: "I am very proud of the role Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council played in The 148th Open, and these figures confirm its hugely significant impact on our economy. Visitors to The Open were able to enjoy the unrivalled beauty of the Causeway Coast and the warm hospitality which our destination is renowned for.

"Research has shown that the positive effects of hosting The Open will be felt for many years and I have no doubt the Causeway Coast and Glens will continue to capitalise on its experience as a world class host of The Open."

Some 237,750 fans flocked to Portrush for the July event, an attendance record for a Championship staged outside of St Andrews. Over half of the spectators who attended The Open (57.6%) travelled from outside Northern Ireland including visitors from elsewhere in the UK (20.2%), from the Republic of Ireland (18.2%) and from overseas, the United States (11.1%), Canada (2.3%) and Australia (2.1%).

Some 83% of visitors told researchers they were more likely to visit Causeway Coast and Glens and Northern Ireland in the next two years as a result of their attendance at The Open.

The Open is golf's original championship and its return to Northern Ireland and Royal Portrush for the first time since 1951 was a huge success.

A key aim of The R&A is to attract a younger audience to the Championship, and more than 30,000 spectators under the age of 25 attended this year, including 21,000 children under the age of 16 who attend free of charge thanks to the long-running Kids Go Free initiative.

The 149th Open will take place at Royal St George's in Kent, England from 12-19 July 2020.



(JG/CM)

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