Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Scotland Drives Ahead as Impact of Open Championship Announced

The annual release of the "How Good The Open Championship is For Scotland" report has come through and guess what? The Open Championship is good for Scotland!

Okay a little bit of sarcasm on a snowy west of Scotland morning never did any harm and of course it's fantastic for all involved that we host such a major international event every couple of years and the whole press release is published in full without interupted comment below.

However again there's trumpet blowing all over the place and use of some pretty unquantifiable and arguably meaningless statistics saying that the benefit to Scotland is in the region of £100 million of which more than half relates to the cost of "buying" equivalent TV coverage. There are better and more qualified marketing commentators than me out there who argue that the multiplier factors used for this figure is almost without meaning and that it is at best misleading to count it as an economic impact - certainly for anyone to use it as a "direct" economic benefit. TV coverage is of course highly valuable but the impacts are less direct surely?

Anyway, the report probably says pretty much the same as the one that was published this time last year, and the one before that. Perhaps we could save a little money the next time and just say The Open was great for Scottish tourism. (Oh I know we need the statistics and knowledge on which we can move our tourism strategy forward...)

Anyway, the Press Release...

2010 study shows a £100m benefit to Scotland

Open Championship organiser, The R&A and EventScotland today announced that the 150th Anniversary Open Championship staged in St Andrews, last year, delivered a combined £100 million benefit to Scotland.

The figure exceeds an £80 million forecast by researchers from the Sport Industry Research Centre (SIRC) at Sheffield Hallam University revealed by First Minister, Alex Salmond visiting the Championship last July.

The headline number includes a Scotland-wide economic impact of £47.4 million and a destination marketing benefit of £52.6 million calculated from global television coverage presenting Scotland as the ‘The Home of Golf’.

The independent research study, commissioned jointly by The R&A and EventScotland, found that most of the economic impact was focussed on St Andrews and the Fife Council area, with £40.1 million income entering the local economy directly attributable to The Open Championship.

Commenting on the research outcome, The R&A Chief Executive, Peter Dawson said, “The Open Championship averages six appearances in Scotland in a ten year cycle and we are delighted that the only major Championship staged outside the United States delivers such a powerful legacy to the country recognised, the world over, as the Home of Golf”.

Reviewing the findings, Paul Bush OBE, Chief Operating Officer for EventScotland said, “Today’s results are wonderful news for both Fife and Scotland.

“The Open Championship in 2010 was a spectacle for everyone who attended and the figures show the undisputed benefit to Scotland of regularly hosting one of the most prestigious sporting events in the world.”

The 2010 study was based on 3,000 interviews conducted by the SIRC team, including players, spectators, sponsors, event staff, organisers and the media with overseas visitors to The Open from 43 countries identified by the research. Compared with findings from research carried out at the Open Championship at St Andrews in 2005 the overall economic benefit of staging the event has grown by more than 25% in five years.

Following on from this news, it was also announced today that Scotland’s key partners have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) in relation to the staging of The Open Championship in Scotland.

The MOU has been formed between R&A Championships Limited, the Local Authorities in Fife, Angus, East Lothian and South Ayrshire, along with EventScotland and VisitScotland. Its purpose is to establish consistent arrangements for joint-working between the partners, towards the preparation and future delivery of The Open Championship in Scotland.

The collective work of all parties involved will ensure that Scotland continues to successfully host The Open Championship on a regular basis moving forward, and that the opportunities and impacts associated with this global event are maximised across Scotland.

Golf is a key economic driver for Scotland so today’s impact figures and MOU signing was well received by First Minister Alex Salmond. He said, “I am delighted that hosting this world-class championship has more than exceeded expectations and brought £100m to our economy. Scotland is the home of golf so it’s no surprise our sporting credentials, stunning scenery, first class tourism credentials and reputation as a world leading event destination have made last year’s Open such a success.

“As we journey towards Homecoming 2014, the year in which Scotland will host the Ryder Cup, the Scottish Government and our partners will continue to work together to produce the next generation of golfers, introduce record numbers of young people to the game and also to promote Scotland as the world’s greatest golfing nation.”

Mike Cantlay, Chairman of EventScotland and VisitScotland said, “The Open Championship is the perfect example of what Scotland does very well - stage world-class events that draw visitors from around the globe. Every golf fan wants to be at St Andrews when The Open is played, and every time it is it delivers impressive economic results for Scotland. Today’s announcement highlights once again why Scotland is the Home of Golf.”

Cllr Peter Grant, Leader of Fife Council said. “As the worldwide home of golf, Fife was proud to host the Open’s 150th anniversary in July 2010. The Open is one of the most prestigious sporting events in the world and we are delighted with the study’s figures which confirm the great economic benefit the tournament brings to Scotland and Fife.

To stage successful events like the Open requires a great deal of hard work, collaboration and partnership working and we welcome the new initiative to improve on these arrangements so that the Open, when held in Scotland, will continue to be an event of the highest quality and help promote Scotland world wide as a must visit destination.”

Councillor Stuart MacKinnon, East Lothian Council’s economic development spokesman, said, “East Lothian Council welcomes this initiative as it will help ensure that future Opens are organised to maximise the economic benefits from this premier sporting event both nationally and locally. Here in East Lothian, we look forward to the welcome return of the Open to Muirfield in 2013 - it was first held at the club in 1892 - and the opportunity it provides not only to showcase the county’s unrivalled golf product but also the many other attractions that visitors can enjoy while they are here.”

David Anderson, Chief Executive of South Ayrshire Council, said: “The MOU is an exciting development that will allow us to continue to deliver successful Open Championships across Scotland, giving local people the chance to see world-class sportsmen and sportswomen in action and, as we see today, bringing very real benefits for local economies. Ayrshire

EventScotland and VisitScotland will continue to be Associate Partners with The Open Championship working with The R&A to ensure that Scotland is promoted as ‘The Home of Golf’ wherever it is played. This reflects Scotland’s historical and cultural relationship with the event, and to raise the profile of Scotland both locally and nationally as a current and future host for the event.

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