2014 U.S. Open and Women's U.S. Open Championships Economic Impact

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The Convention & Visitors Bureau, in tandem with the USGA, utilizes a comprehensive survey process recently developed to more accurately determine the event’s actual economic impact.

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While tourism models can help a destination on the front-end estimate outcome totals, there is no substitute for first hand data-collection that provides actual spending numbers and helps clarify important spending patterns by visitors to the Opens.

Visitors by the tens of thousands will ascend into the North Carolina Sandhills in early June to enjoy the unprecedented back-to-back 2014 U.S. Open and U.S. Women’s Open Championships, conducted by the United States Golf Association (USGA) at the historic Pinehurst No. 2 course. Make that an expected 400,000 people over the two week period, June 9-22. They will make their presence known with an estimated $169 million economic impact on the local and state economy according to the area’s Convention & Visitors Bureau (CVB). In addition to a direct infusion of dollars for the local/state economy there will be 49 hours of live television coverage (NBC/ESPN) over the two weeks reaching an international audience (180 countries).

The U.S. Open will celebrate its third visit over the past 15 years at the famous Pinehurst Resort, located in Moore County, NC, and has provided a significant lift to many businesses and towns alike in the region. The USGA has also conducted the U.S. Women Open three times recently at nearby Pine Needles Resort (Southern Pines, NC) which has generated a bit smaller, but still very important spend for the area. Previous estimates by the CVB were developed using established models and by talking with the USGA, other U.S. Open sites, and state universities. The caveat on this previously recorded data is that they were preliminary estimates, with no direct research done to calculate actual spending.

This changes in 2014 as the Convention and Visitors Bureau, in tandem with the USGA, utilizes a comprehensive survey process recently developed to more accurately determine the event’s actual economic impact. In addition, other key metrics will be measured through the use of kiosks located throughout the Championship grounds to collect data directly from spectators. Canadian-based EventCorp Services manages the kiosk and survey process. Nearby N.C. State University has been employed to provide additional insight; thereby enhancing the survey instrument by focusing on how to ask visitors what they spent and where they spent it (focusing on spending outside the gates of the Championships).

It’s an innovative partnership and according to the CVB President & CEO Caleb Miles, a huge step forward in the process of evaluating what a large sporting event means for a community/state. “While tourism models can help a destination on the front-end estimate outcome totals, there is no substitute for first hand data-collection that provides actual spending numbers and helps clarify important spending patterns by visitors to the Opens” he adds.

The initial estimate does project that key spending categories will breakdown as follows: Lodging (41%), Food & Beverage (25%), Retail purchases (14%), recreation/golf (12%), and Transportation (local) (5%) & Other (3%). Tickets are sold through the USGA (based in Far Hills, New Jersey), and are not included in totals. Attendance at the U.S. Open is expected to top out at 50,000 to 55,000 per day over the weekend, and roughly half that during the U.S. Women’s Open week. According to the CVB once the survey numbers have been collected and analyzed they plan to work with the USGA on a presentation that will be shared with state/local municipalities, area businesses and the media. For more information contact the Convention & Visitors Bureau at cmiles(at)homeofgolf(dot)com.

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Caleb Miles
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