Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, golf has experienced a surge in popularity, attracting an increasing number of enthusiasts. This trend seems to extend its positive influence to professional golf as well. According to a report from the DP World Tour, R&A, and Ladies European Tour, major golf tournaments in the UK and Ireland in 2023 have witnessed a significant boost in popularity, marked by increased ticket sales and higher attendance numbers.
DP World Tour with 43 percent higher income from ticket sales
The report focuses on the most prominent golf tournaments in the UK and Ireland, highlighting the DP World Tour’s remarkable achievement. In 2023, the DP World Tour managed to increase its revenue from ticket sales by an impressive 43%, compared to pre-pandemic levels in 2019. Notably, the four major tournaments (excluding Majors) showed substantial increases. The BMW PGA Championship saw a 41% rise in revenue compared to 2019, while the Genesis Scottish Open more than doubled its ticket sales revenue. Overall attendance for the four events, including the BMW PGA Championship, Genesis Scottish Open, Horizon Irish Open, and Betfred British Masters, exhibited a slight upward trend, with nearly 300,000 attendees – around 30,000 more than the previous year. The Ladies European Tour also reported modest increases in audience numbers, with a 20% rise at the KPMG Irish Open in late August.
Keith Pelley, Chief Executive of the DP World Tour, expressed his enthusiasm, stating, “Golf is gaining popularity and attracting a more diverse audience. The numbers confirm this, and the biggest events of the DP World Tour in the UK and Ireland have never been more popular. We are witnessing a similar trend in our historic national Opens across Europe. The natural outdoor appeal of golf led people to try the sport at a record pace in 2020, and the DP World Tour is now reaping the benefits. Golfers of all ages want to witness the world’s best players showcasing their skills, and we are focused on ensuring that our audience experience meets their expectations.”
Record Year for the British Open
The pinnacle of golf in the UK, the British Open, also celebrated significant success. Since 2019, all tournament days have been sold out, and the 151st Open in 2023 recorded a 30% increase in attendance compared to the previous edition at Royal Liverpool in 2014. The growing popularity of the tournament led to the introduction of a ticket lottery in 2022 to accommodate the surging demand.