St Andrews Open ‘brought £140m to Scotland’

The 2015 Open Golf Championship at St Andrews brought £140 million of economic benefit to Scotland, according to an independent economic impact assessment commissioned by the R&A.

The £140 million was the largest amount ever achieved by a golf event in the United Kingdom or Ireland, according to the economic impact assessment carried out by Sheffield Hallam University’s Sport Industry Research Centre.

The research showed spending by visitors to Scotland for the 2015 tournament generated £88 million — nearly double the £47.5 million in visitor impact achieved in 2010 when the Open was last held at St Andrews.

A further £52 million in marketing benefit was achieved thanks to the exposure gained by St Andrews and Scotland being broadcast to more than 500 million households worldwide, according to separate research carried out by Kantar Media Sport Intelligence.

The economic impact assessment by Sheffield Hallam estimated that Fife alone benefitted to the tune of around £52 million, and suggested there is a “St Andrew’s effect” that has seen visitor numbers to the Old Course beat all previous years.

“The R&A brings The Open to Scotland more often than to any other part of the United Kingdom and we are delighted that a long association with VisitScotland produces measurable and sustained benefits for the Scottish economy,” said Martin Slumbers, chief executive of the R&A.

“For the millions who watched on television and the many thousands who attended in St Andrews, the 144th Open was a wonderful celebration of golf.

“The Open is one of the world’s greatest sporting events and we look forward to staging another successful Championship in Scotland this year when The Open returns to Royal Troon.”

The research on St Andrews 2015 found that total spectator admissions for the championship, including practice days and championship days, were 237,024, with 93,000 unique spectators.

There were 26,400 spectators from overseas, 28% of the total, compared to 20 per cent in 2010.

More than three quarters of overseas spectators were attending the Open for the first time in 2015, while the corresponding figures for the two previous events held at St Andrews in 2010 and 2005 were 65% and 62% respectively.

“Hosting such events is a tremendous opportunity to showcase Scotland internationally as the perfect stage for events as well as generating spend for local businesses, restaurants and hotels, and the wider Scottish economy,” said First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.