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Teeing up golf gold

The Ryder Cup runneth over for the local economy

By Kevyn Burger
Thursday, September 22, 2016

If a rising tide lifts all boats, expect the metro area to feel the swell of international visitors —and their money — in the coming weeks with the arrival of the Ryder Cup.

The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development has predicted that the famed international golf tournament, played from Sept. 30-Oct. 2, will drive over $100 million into the Twin Cities, with some 250,000 visitors expected — nearly 80% of them from outside the state and many hailing from foreign shores.

While Chaska, the home of the Hazeltine National Golf Club, will be ground zero for an economic boost, the region will benefit from being the host community for golf’s elite.

The 41st Ryder Cup will bring in two 12-member teams, one American and one European, to face off in multiple matches over three days.

The region will be spotlighted to a global audience. According to We Are Golf, a lobbying coalition that promotes the sport, the tournament will be viewed in more than 630 million homes in 200 countries and territories, putting its viewership on par with the Olympics and the World Cup. NBC Sports and the Golf Channel will combine to produce 26 hours of coverage over the three-day event.  

The biennial tournament goes back and forth between European and American host cities. The last U.S. match was played outside Chicago in 2012; the DuPage County Convention & Visitors Bureau put the event’s economic value to the region at $80 million.

The dates of the Ryder Cup overlapped with another sporting event — the Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon. The classic race is traditionally run during the first weekend of October, but this year is being pushed back a week. The delay was made to prevent any bottleneck between the events and to make sure that enough hotel rooms would be available to out-of-towners.

The marathon, and its weekend of 20 related running events, rings up its own economic impact. Approximately one third of the 11,600 runners come from out of state and spend their cash on meals and accommodations. Meet Minneapolis put the marathon weekend’s total business sales impact to the area at $35 million. 

That’s a mere ripple compared to the cash that will drop during Super Bowl 52, coming to Minnesota in February of 2018. The host committee puts the economic value of the big game and its attendant events at $404 million.

Based on a study from Rockport Analytics, 125,000 visitors are expected during “peak game time,” the days leading up to Super Bowl Sunday, with each one of them spending an average $620 a day on hotel, transportation, entertainment and dining, and shopping.

The host committee expects a total of one million visitors from around the region will visit the Twin Cities during the ten days of festivities that lead up to the event.