Hoylake Open delivers fantastic Wirral windfall
2014 championship, won by Rory McIlroy, proves to be a huge financial success for region
THE positive economic impact of Wirral hosting The Open has been revealed in an independent report presented to Wirral Council’s Cabinet.
Research commissioned by the R&A, golf’s governing body, calculates that the Open at Royal Liverpool, which ran from 13th to 20th July, delivered a total economic benefit of £76.3m across the Wirral Council area and to the wider economy of the North West.
Over £19m was spent by in excess of 200,000 visitors with Wirral businesses, including restaurants, hotels and guesthouses, pubs and shops all benefitting during the week-long championship.
International media coverage of the event resulted in a tourism promotion benefit of £52.2m, based on the marketing of Wirral as a desirable travel and investment destination.
There were over 5,400 hours of television coverage of the Open across 106 television channels, with a worldwide reach of 505 million households.
Cllr Phil Davies, leader of Wirral Council said: “The Open was an opportunity for Wirral to promote itself to a global audience, and it was equally important for us that local people saw real, tangible benefits to hosting the event.
“During this year’s Open, over 200,000 people saw Wirral’s natural beauty, they shopped and ate in our towns, and viewers across the globe saw what we have to offer.
“The organisation was exceptional and we look forward to hosting the Championship again.”
Announcing the research findings the R&A’s executive director of championships, Johnnie Cole-Hamilton, said: “The Open attracts global television coverage which delivers a substantial tourism promotion impact to the area in which it is held. We had great crowds at Hoylake to witness Rory McIlroy win the Claret Jug for the first time this year and we are very pleased that the championship delivered such strong commercial benefits for local businesses and the economy of the North West.”
Graham Burgess, chief executive of Wirral Council said: “This year’s Open is a success story, and a case study of how to run a major international sporting event. Wirral gets a double benefit from the Open as key tourism related businesses get a payback on investment immediately following the Championship, and golf tourism locally gets a reputational boost from hosting such a prestigious sporting event over the long term.”
The Open is regularly staged in the North West and, in a 12-year period, 2006 to 2017, the Championship will have visited the region on five occasions, Royal Liverpool at Hoylake (2006 and 2014), Royal Lytham and St Annes (2012) and Royal Birkdale (2008 and 2017).
In total, Hoylake has hosted the championships 12 times in its history. It first did so in 1897 but it was ‘lost’ from the rota for almost 40 years after Roberto de Vicenzo’s victory in 1967. It wasn’t used again until 2006, when Tiger Woods successfully defended the title he had won a year earlier at St Andrews.
The R&A commissioned global sports marketing company Repucom and Sheffield Hallam University’s Sports Research Centre to carry out independent research into the event’s impact.
Researchers from Sheffield Hallam University conducted 1,500 spectator interviews at the Open at Royal Liverpool last summer.