Open can withstand the financial crisis, says R&A
Wednesday 22 April 2009
The Open Championship has been hit by the economic downturn like all other major sporting events, but it will go ahead in July at Turnberry as planned and the cost will not mean less money being spent by the Royal and Ancient Club on promoting the game worldwide.
The R&A chief executive, Peter Dawson, yesterday dismissed as "media hype" a report that nearby Royal Troon had been put on standby because of concerns over whether renovation work at Turnberry's five-star hotel would be completed on time. "That has absolutely never been discussed," said Dawson after the R&A was given assurances by the hotel's owners Leisurecorp that 181 rooms in the resort, primarily for players, would be ready. Corporate hospitality, however, is down 15 to 20 per cent and future sponsorship is uncertain, with long-term backer Royal Bank of Scotland reported to be dramatically scaling down its involvement.
But Dawson stated: "I know they are going to continue in sports sponsorship and we very much hope the Open remains part of that portfolio."
No prize-money figures have been announced for July's championship, but Dawson added: "We have a duty to maintain the event at the forefront of world golf and prize-money is part of that equation. The Open has been the most lucrative of all the four majors in dollar terms for some years, but with the dollar exchange rate having swung back that's a position that is probably going to be difficult for us to maintain.
"Our business model is to have, within the ethos of the Open, as commercially successful an event as we can to finance amateur events, governance of the game and also to have money to support worthy golf projects around the world."
Help is being offered to attract more fans to the event, with £250 being paid to clubs who organise coaches bringing 30 or more people.
The director of championships, David Hill, observed that, while watching rugby at Murrayfield would cost £70 for an 80-minute game, anybody paying the £55 daily entrance fee at Turnberry could see the world's top players in action from dawn to dusk.
Latest in Sport
Commonwealth Games 2014: Australia launch Glasgow swimwear - but are criticised for drawing attention to the 'crotch' area
Borussia Dortmund vs Arsenal: Jurgen Klopp concerned with Dortmund injuries and praises signings of Danny Welbeck and Alexis Sanchez
Alexis Sanchez: The many (animated) faces of Arsenal's Chilean forward
Hull City vs West Ham match report: Enner Valencia stars as honours shared at the KC Stadium
Cristiano Ronaldo to Manchester United: Ramon Calderon claims Real Madrid star is 'fed up'
- 1 Scottish independence: Ireland since 1919 is a lesson for Scotland in what a Yes vote means
- 2 Thailand deaths: Pair's bloodied bodies found naked on Koh Tao beach
- 3 Lego breaks out of the toy box and heads for the gallery
- 4 Julian Assange and Edward Snowden join piracy mogul Kim Dotcom’s political campaign in New Zealand
- 5 Daniele Watts: Django Unchained actress detained by Los Angeles police after being mistaken for a prostitute
Daniele Watts: Django Unchained actress detained by Los Angeles police after being mistaken for a prostitute
The political class is doing what Hitler couldn’t – destroying Britain
Scottish independence: Nationalist leader Jim Sillars threatens pro-union companies with 'day of reckoning' after independence
Scottish independence: Yes campaign feels the heat as Alex Salmond's NHS claims come under furious attack
£23m Birmingham cycle scheme is attacked by Tory councillor for not catering to the elderly
Salmond accused of laughing off national debt with ‘what are they going to do: invade?’ joke