The long awaited U.S. Open at Chambers Bay has come and gone. It’s hard to believe it’s over already after all the effort that went into having this major golf championship here in our own backyard! We can certainly take pride in those efforts and everyone in this region should feel pride as we showcased our region and offered outstanding hospitality to visitors. Now that we can relax a bit (we say ‘a bit’ because we’ll be getting efforts together to invite the USGA back to Chambers Bay), let’s take a look at some facts and numbers from this incredible event:
When the announcement came that Chambers Bay would host the 2015 U.S. Open, the economic impact was estimated at $144 million. We’ll have more insight into that estimate as the USGA has commissioned PLU to produce an economic impact analysis which is expected to be completed this fall. We do know the event brought business to local firms, our restaurants were packed, and the world got to see this place we call home.
Hotels throughout Pierce, Kitsap, Thurston, and King counties hosted players, media, volunteers, and spectators. One Tacoma hotelier described the week as “crazy busy”, in a good way! When comparing the same week in 2014 and 2015, hotel revenue was up 41% in Seattle, 20% in Bellevue, 41% in SeaTac, and 122% in Tacoma!
$1 million in local food purchases were made just for Corporate Hospitality. Locally, for example, Northern Fish supplied all the seafood and PS Beverage, the coffee and Kuerig coffee machines.
The USGA and its vendors purchased a variety of local goods, from lumber at Home Depot to plants from Windmill Gardens in Sumner. And there were benefits to area non-profit organizations. Many were given the opportunity to staff a concessions stand and received a portion of the proceeds for their respective organizations.
In addition, after the event was over, 70,000 pounds of food was donated to the Emergency Food Network (the first group to successfully take all of the surplus!).
There was nearly 40 hours of coverage by FOX Sports. In addition, there were many hours of pre-championship coverage by the Golf Channel, ESPN, and others, including some great footage from our own PCTV. Media represented 19 countries and they published or aired THOUSANDS of stories.
Visits to www.ChambersBayGolf.com increased more than 2000% compared to championship week in 2014. Visitors came from all 50 states and 201 countries!
And the golf was great, too! There were 21 rounds under par in the final round. That is the second most in a final round of the U.S. Open! And the scoring average of 71.29 in the fourth round is the lowest in any round in U.S. Open history and only the third time it has been below 72!
The champion, Jordon Spieth, had a local tie. His caddy, Michael Greller, formerly taught in the University Place School District!
Three important people had this to say about the 2015 U.S. Open:
“I have never been more proud to have worked on a championship . . . We had phenomenal community support, and the region really stepped up.”
~ Danny Sink, Championship Director
“We were joking about (how) we can certainly tell why NFL teams don’t like to come to Seattle to play; these fans are awesome. It’s unbelievable. To have them on our side this week and to hear the crowd screaming for us from Thursday afternoon on, and hearing the support that Michael had as well, I felt like we were crowd favorites and they certainly helped get this job done and I really appreciated everybody. Thank you.”
~ Jordon Spieth, 2015 U.S. Open Champion
“This was one of the most extraordinary weeks in our region's history. Our communities hosted thousands of visitors, and tens of millions of people saw spectacular views of our beautiful home. On behalf of Pierce County, I offer our thanks and appreciation to the local, state and federal partners who helped make this a huge success, as well as the championship volunteers and residents who provided such a warm welcome to all of our visitors.”
~ Pat McCarthy, Pierce County Executive & 2015 U.S. Open Operating Committee Chair