Golf chiefs hail big increase in fans attending events in Great Britain and Ireland in 2023
The DP World Tour has enjoyed a 43 per cent increase in its revenues for general admission and premium hospitality tickets for its tournaments in 2023 compared to pre-pandemic levels in 2019.
As an example, the Genesis Scottish Open, held at The Renaissance Club in East Lothian, saw general admission and premium hospitality ticket revenues increase by 117% in 2023 compared to 2019. A total number of 72,517 spectators attended the tournament this year, which represented a 5% increase on 2022. That total also topped the figures for stagings at Castle Stuart, Royal Aberdeen, Gullane and Dundonald Links since it moved to links courses in 2011.
The Open, meanwhile, has set record attendances at every venue since 2017, with all editions of the Claret Jug event sold out since 2019. A total of 261,180 spectators attended The 151st Open at Royal Liverpool in July, which is the second-highest attendance on record and a 30% increase on 2014 at the Hoylake venue.
Also run by The R&A, the AIG Women’s Open at Walton Heath saw similar success as a total of 51,000 – up from 33,303 at Muirfield in 2022 – atteneded it.
The Ladies European Tour has also seen increases in spectator numbers for its events in GB&I this year. The FREED GROUP Women's Scottish Open, held at Dundonald Links in Ayrshire, saw its spectator numbers reach 10,000, a similar level to 2022.
This follows on from the continued rise in the number of people playing golf in GB&I. Data from The R&A, published in March 2023, shows that golf participation sits well above the rates in the years prior to the start of the pandemic. In 2019, there were 3.7 million on-course adult golfers in GB&I. As of 2022, that has grown to 5.6 million - a 50% increase.
DP World Tour chief executive Keith Pelley said: “Golf is booming in popularity and attracting a more diverse following. The numbers back this up and the DP World Tour’s biggest events in GB&I have never been more popular.
"We have also enjoyed a similar trend for our historic national Opens across Europe. Golf’s outdoor nature meant people tried the sport in record numbers in 2020 and the DP World Tour is now benefiting from this. Golfers of all ages want to see the best players in the world showcase their skills and we are focused on making sure that our spectator experience matches their expectations.”
Martin Slumbers, CEO of The R&A, added: The Open and AIG Women’s Open are major global sporting events and we are seeing people attend our championships in greater numbers than ever before. This is the result of a more targeted approach to marketing and ticketing which has enabled us to deepen the relationship with our fans.
“We continually look at ways to enhance the staging of our championships so that they appeal to people of all ages, particularly families and young people, and provide entertainment and value for money.”
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