1. ITV Report

Open Championship delivers more than £100m to Northern Ireland

Shane Lowry won the Championship in July. Credit: Pacemaker

The 148th Open Championship generated more than £100m of economic benefit to Northern Ireland, a study has revealed.

Commissioned by Sheffield Hallam University’s Sport Industry Research Centre (SIRC), the report also identified £45m of new money entering the local economy.

The Open returned to Royal Portrush for the first time in 68 years after last being staged there in 1951.

The figures relate to the week of the Open in July 2019.

237,750 fans attended the competition which was a record number for the Championship outside of St Andrew's in Scotland.

Shane Lowry scored a round of 72 to win the Claret Jug, six shots ahead of Tommy Fleetwood.

Shane Lowry holds the Claret Jug after his victory. Credit: Pacemaker

Key facts from the Open at Royal Portrush:

  • £37.3m in destination marketing benefit
  • 5,400 hours of global television coverage
  • £26.21m boost for Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council
  • Over half (57.6%) of spectators traveled from outside Northern Ireland

Chief Executive of the R&A, Martin Slumbers said the event 'made history'.

He said, “The return of the Championship to Royal Portrush was eagerly anticipated and we enjoyed a hugely memorable week where we welcomed tens of thousands of spectators to an outstanding championship venue to witness Shane Lowry lifting the Claret Jug.”

Tiger Woods played at the Championship. Credit: Pacemaker

Chief Executive Tourism NI, John McGrillen said, "The 148th Open at Royal Portrush was a ground breaking event for tourism in Northern Ireland and its success further demonstrates Northern Ireland’s ability to seamlessly deliver world class events which have a very positive impact on the local economy.

"Behind the scenes a huge partnership effort across Government, Causeway Coast and Glens Council, PSNI, Translink and Tourism NI delivered an unforgettable week for players and spectators alike."

The 149th Open Championship takes place in July 2020 at Royal St George’s in Kent.