Sad but true. The numbers are in on this summer’s Open Golf Championship at Sandwich, and they make good reading for the county. The direct economic boost and indirect benefit of TV coverage are valued at £77 million.
Each Open venue hosts the tournament about every ten years, so the once-a-decade display of supreme skill at the stick-ball-hole game works out at some £7.7 million a year of identifiable benefit to Kent.
Manston’s latest night flight proposal rather optimistically assesses the airport’s current contribution to the local economy at £3.8 million a year – less than half the impact of the Open even when the Open isn’t on!
Open Golf Championship ‘worth £77m to Kent economy’
The Open Golf Championship in Sandwich this year was worth about £77m to Kent, researchers have said. A study commissioned by R&A (Royal & Ancient Golf Club), which runs the Open, was carried out by researchers at Sheffield Hallam University.
R&A chief executive Peter Dawson said Kent had a direct economic boost of just under £25m, and the television exposure was worth more than £50m. He said TV coverage reached nearly 500 million homes worldwide.
“That television exposure for east Kent and the whole area is worth a fortune in terms of future for the tourist industry and hopefully for inward investment too.”
Kent County Council leader Paul Carter said the Open was the largest sports event the county had hosted in recent years. He said:
“It boosted the profile of the area nationally and internationally, which should help in our efforts to secure inward investment, tourism and jobs.”
Mr Dawson said there were some traffic difficulties caused by large numbers of people arriving by train and delays at level crossings. R&A officials and Kent authorities were planning transport improvements for a return of the Open, he said.
The championship is played at nine venues in England and Scotland and on average is hosted by each venue every 10 years. More than 180,000 spectators attended the four-day event in July.
BBC online 24th Nov 2011