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How much? The Open brings huge windfall for Liverpool

An independent study, commissioned by The R&A, has revealed the enormous economic benefit of hosting the game’s oldest championship runs into hundreds of millions

 

The Open just continues to get bigger and bigger.

The 151st event at Royal Liverpool last year generated more than £187 million in economic benefit, an R&A commissioned survey has revealed.

The Hoylake championship, which was dogged by bad weather on the final day, still provided a total economic impact of £43.19 million to the Wirral and wider Liverpool City Region.

That’s described as new money entering the economy, according to the study conducted by Sheffield Hallam University’s Sport Industry Research Centre (SIRC). They also revealed the economic impact to Wirral alone was £23.64 million.

Meanwhile, independent research carried out by YouGov Sport indicated that £144 million of destination marketing benefit was delivered for Liverpool with The Open broadcast worldwide through linear television and digital platforms during the week of the Championship. 

The R&A say these figures are significantly higher than when the championship last came to the region.

There was a 35 per cent increase in benefit to the Wirral, compared with 2014, while the impact for Liverpool was 23 per cent higher than when Royal Birkdale hosted The Open in 2017.

Martin Slumbers

Martin Slumbers: ‘The Open continues to flourish’

R&A chief executive Martin Slumbers said: “The 151st Open generated a substantial economic benefit for the Wirral and wider Liverpool City Region with tens of thousands of fans travelling from far and wide to witness Brian Harman become the Champion Golfer of the Year and tens of millions more watching on television or digital platforms worldwide.

“The Open continues to flourish and has an outstanding track record of injecting significant additional expenditure into communities and local businesses as well as showcasing the region in which it is held to a global audience.

“We would like to thank Royal Liverpool and all of our patrons and partners for their support and commitment to helping us stage one of the world’s foremost sporting events.”

Steve Rotherham, Liverpool City Region mayor, added: “The Open is one of the sporting world’s crown jewels and to have the opportunity to play host to it not just once – but twice in the space of three years – is an incredible achievement for our area.

“The figures speak for themselves – The 151st Open was a massive success for our visitor economy. The fact we attracted record crowds to Royal Liverpool is testament, not only to the quality of our region’s courses, but to the infrastructure we offer and the warm welcome we gave to visitors from around the world. We know that when people visit our region, whether it’s their first time or not, I can guarantee it won’t be their last.”

Professor Simon Shibli, Director of the Sport Industry Research at Sheffield Hallam University, said: “We have worked with The R&A to measure the economic impact of The Open since 2010. 

“We are now in the fortunate position of being able to quantify the growth of the event at each Championship course since its previous hosting. 

“Advances in working collaboratively with local partners, innovations in ticketing, and increased public demand for watching live golf have all contributed to The Open’s significant growth in economic value over time.”

The R&A said The Open attracted 261,180 fans to Hoylake, surpassing the previous attendance of 202,917 at Royal Liverpool a decade ago. That made it the second highest attended Open Championship in history, only behind only The 150th Open in St Andrews in 2022.

Around 18,000 children under the age of 16 attended the Championship under the well-established ‘kids go free’ policy, which has helped attract over 400,000 young fans to The Open free of charge since the policy’s inception in 1997.

The governing body added that, of the spectators, around one in four travelled from outside of England. More than a third – 37 per cent – attended the event for the first time and three quarters indicated they would return to one of the next three editions at Royal Troon (2024), Royal Portrush (2025) and Royal Birkdale (2026).

Now have your say

What do you make of these figures? Did you attend The Open at Hoylake and will you be go to Royal Troon this year? Let me know by leaving a comment on X.

Main picture courtesy of The R&A

Steve Carroll

Steve Carroll

A journalist for 25 years, Steve has been immersed in club golf for almost as long. A former club captain, he has passed the Level 3 Rules of Golf exam with distinction having attended the R&A's prestigious Tournament Administrators and Referees Seminar.

Steve has officiated at a host of high-profile tournaments, including Open Regional Qualifying, PGA Fourball Championship, English Men's Senior Amateur, and the North of England Amateur Championship. In 2023, he made his international debut as part of the team that refereed England vs Switzerland U16 girls.

A part of NCG's Top 100s panel, Steve has a particular love of links golf and is frantically trying to restore his single-figure handicap. He currently floats at around 11.

Steve plays at Close House, in Newcastle, and York GC, where he is a member of the club's matches and competitions committee and referees the annual 36-hole scratch York Rose Bowl.

Having studied history at Newcastle University, he became a journalist having passed his NTCJ exams at Darlington College of Technology.

What's in Steve's bag: TaylorMade Stealth 2 driver, 3-wood, and hybrids; TaylorMade Stealth 2 irons; TaylorMade Hi-Toe, Ping ChipR, Sik Putter.

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