Open Championship Delivers Huge Economic Benefits

Collin Morikawa celebrates with the Claret Jug on the 18th green at Royal St George’s Golf Club last year. Picture by Harry Trump/R&A via Getty Images.

St Andrews, Scotland: The 149th Open at Royal St George’s in 2021 delivered £113.4 million in economic benefit to Kent, according to independent research commissioned by The R&A.

The Open’s first playing in Sandwich since 2011 provided a total economic impact of £19.4 million for the Kent region as stated in a report provided by Sheffield Hallam University’s Sport Industry Research Centre (SIRC).

A destination marketing study undertaken by YouGov Sport also calculated that Kent gained £94 million in gross advertising value thanks to over 5,400 hours of dedicated global television coverage, traditional TV and online news coverage, digital streaming and social media content.

The 149th Open was initially due to have 210,000 fans attend in 2020 before it was cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The attendance last year was restricted to 128,300 fans – a total agreed with the UK Government as part of the Championship’s inclusion in the Events Research Programme.

Martin Slumbers, Chief Executive of The R&A, said: “The Open’s return to Royal St George’s delivered a substantial economic benefit for Kent and projected this beautiful region to a global audience.

“Tens of thousands of fans visited Kent and enjoyed all that the region had to offer, benefiting local businesses. The Championship was also viewed by more than 100 million people on television around the world and many of them will have been inspired to visit in years to come. I would like to thank everyone in Kent who played their part in making The Open such a great success despite the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic.”

Mike Hill, Kent County Council’s Cabinet Member for Community and Regulatory Services, said: “It was a great honour for Kent to host The Open at Royal St George’s once again.

“This splendid event was very successful, despite the reduction in the number of spectators allowed because of the pandemic, and we are delighted to discover that it had such a beneficial effect on the county’s economy. We look forward to hosting The Open at Sandwich again in the future.”

Councillor Trevor Bartlett, Leader of Dover District Council, said: “Hosting The 149th Open last year was just the boost the district needed following the Covid-19 pandemic. This research underlines the significant economic benefit that The Open brings to the district and the wider region.

“With some of the world’s finest links golf here in the district we want to build on this success, working with courses and the wider hospitality sector to continue to deliver new investment and an outstanding experience on Kent’s Golf Coast.

“We wish St Andrews all the best for The 150th Open and look forward with anticipation to the return of the Championship to Royal St George’s in the years to come.” 

The 150th Open at St Andrews will take place from July 10-17 with a Championship record 290,000 fans set to attend the historic occasion.

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