Ryder Cup provided significant boost to Wales economy, study indicates

carwyn jones, richard hills
Ryder Cup Europe
First Minister of Wales Carwyn Jones (l) and European Ryder Cup Director Richard Hills have much to celebrate in the wake of the Ryder Cup's economic impact on Wales.

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Hosting the Ryder Cup for the first time boosted the Welsh economy by more than $134 million.

A study conducted by IFM Sports Marketing Surveys interviewed spectators, local businesses, golf clubs, local residents and volunteers during and after Europe's one-point victory at Celtic Manor last October.

The match spilled into an extra day because of torrential rain, but will mostly be remembered for Graeme McDowell's win over Hunter Mahan in the all-important final singles.

The total attendance for the week was 244,000 and of those interviewed 69 percent had come from outside Wales, including 7 percent from the United States and Canada.

"The Ryder Cup gave a very substantial boost to the Welsh economy during the week of the event and it will continue to deliver lasting benefits in terms of tourism, golf development and awareness of Wales as a place to do business," said First Minister of Wales Carwyn Jones. "It's particularly pleasing that, as the host nation, we rose to the occasion and gave the tens of thousands of visitors a very warm Welsh welcome which will form part of their memories of what was a thrilling event.

"The study sits alongside the recent announcement which shows that the economic impact of golf tourism in Wales during 2010 was nearly £42 million ($69 million)," Jones added. "This represents an increase of 21 percent from 2009. In the seven years since we started collating figures, the total expenditure generated through golf tourism amounted to £203 million ($331 million).

"The number of golfing visitors across Wales has increased 82 percent in the same period," said Jones. "This emphasizes the Ryder Cup effect."

European Ryder Cup Director Richard Hills stated: "Major sports events consistently deliver considerable direct and indirect benefits to the host nation and venue.

"This is confirmed by the results of this Economic Impact Study, the increase in revenue brought into the Welsh economy by golf tourism and golf events, the growth of the game in Wales and the massive coverage the event achieved globally," he added. "All of this highlights why the Ryder Cup is considered by many observers to be one of the top 10 global sporting brands."

The Ryder Cup brought considerable returns for all the partners involved, said Russell Phillips, the resort’s vice president for facilities and development.

"Here at Celtic Manor, we experienced substantial increases in golf and leisure revenues in 2009 and 2010, and we’ve seen a further rise in bookings for 2011. As a nation, Wales has undoubtedly gained huge benefits not only through the direct revenue injected into the economy but also in terms of recognition of the Wales brand globally," he explained. "This is a great platform on which to build and we’re looking forward to hosting the Celtic Manor Wales Open again in June."

The Ryder Cup study showed a high level of recognition of Newport as the host city, with 93 percent of all those surveyed having seen branding associating the Ryder Cup with Newport. Even among people from outside the UK, 89 percent had made the association.

“Newport has clearly benefited quite considerably from hosting the 2010 Ryder Cup -- not only during the week of the event, as this study shows, but in the run-up and in the longer term," said Matthew Evans, leader of the Newport City Council. "As a council, we ensured the city was able to capitalize on its moment in the global spotlight and that every resident had a chance to join the celebrations, even if they were not golf fans. Many local businesses gained directly as a result of the event, although we always recognized it was not going to bring financial rewards for everyone, especially in view of the economic climate."