R&A refuse to blame poor Open attendance on ticket prices

News & Tour

The tournament organisers stand firm over poor turnout figures

The R&A have refused to blame low attendances at this year’s Open Championship on high ticket prices.

Despite glorious weather across the East Lothian coastline for the four tournament days and Muirfield’s close proximity to the Scottish capital, attendance figures were down by almost 12% from the last time the venue staged the tournament in 2002.

Ticket prices were also higher this year than for previous tournaments, with an adult day ticket bought on the gate costing £75 – a £5 increase from last year’s price and more than double the price of admission eleven years ago, when a day ticket cost just £35.

Nevertheless, an official statement released by the tournament organisers blamed the downturn on other factors.

Advance ticket sales were very strong and we believe the extremely warm weather put off some of our pay at the gate customers. That is perhaps why, unusually, we had a higher attendance on Sunday in cooler weather than we did on Friday which is normally the busiest day,” it said.

“The blend of a British winner of the Tour de France and Ashes cricket on television over the last few days may also have had an impact.”

Over 180,000 people made a trip to Lytham last year, whereas just 142,000 people showed up at Muirfield last week. The attendance figures at Muirfield were also heavily down on last year’s Open at Royal Lytham and St Annes. Over 180,000 people made a trip to Lytham last year, whereas just 142,000 people showed up at Muirfield last week.

Interestingly, attendances were up from 2002 on the practice days, with a day ticket costing just £40 and fans allowed to take pictures and videos of the players. 

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