The Corporate Director Communities sought approval for a contribution of funding and officer support from Bridgend County Borough Council to the Senior Open Championship, 2023, to enter into a Rights Agreement and to continue work to establish Royal Porthcawl as a venue capable of hosting the Open Championship.
The Corporate Director Communities reported that Bridgend County hosted the first golf major in Wales when Royal Porthcawl hosted the Senior Open Championship in 2014, with over 43,000 people attending the event, generating an estimated economic impact of £2.16m. Additionally, the media equivalence value from comprehensive television coverage for Porthcawl and the County Borough was calculated at a further £5.2m. The event returned to Royal Porthcawl in 2017, attended by over 32,000 people, with the global Media Equivalency Value for Bridgend County, including Royal Porthcawl, calculated at £7.8m.
The Corporate Director Communities reported that the Senior Open Championship will return to Royal Porthcawl in 2023 and whilst weather dependent, the event will deliver benefits for the local economy and promotes Porthcawl as a destination across the world. She stated that the Welsh Government is supporting the delivery of the three Senior Open Championships between 2014 and 2024 with a grant of £5m and a request had been made by the event organisers for a contribution from the Council of £50k. The proposed contribution of £50k is the total capped funding package requested from the Council towards the event to cover the costs associated with any or all the costs indicated in the report as considered appropriate by the European Tour (ET) in return for the benefits indicated in the report to the Council and the substantial estimated impact on the local economy. She highlighted the benefits the Championship will provide to the Council.
The Corporate Director Communities reported that a liaison group will be established with relevant officer representation and a representative of the ET. The group will aim to provide advice and guidance to the ET to assist with their decision making, broker relationships between the ET and local stakeholders and identify opportunities in relation to local partnership development, business engagement and promotion and marketing for the ET to take forward.
The Cabinet Member Education and Regeneration in commending the proposals commented on the significance of the event to Porthcawl, the County Borough and nationally which could not be under-estimated. He stated that the return of the Seniors Open had shown the track record the Council has in delivering the event with its partners. He also stated that the liaison group will strive to get the outcomes for the community with the possibility of complimentary tickets being available to children who are disadvantaged. The Leader stated he supported the idea of making the sport more accessible and inclusive to children who are disadvantaged.
The Cabinet Member Communities questioned how the event would be promoted from the M4 to make it more visibly accessible. The Corporate Director stated that of importance to the success of the event is to have a traffic management plan, to include park and ride and it was hoped the metro link would be operational by the time the tournament is held.
The Leader stated that the importance of the tournament to the economy could not be over-emphasised, due to the level of media coverage it would bring which encourage visitors to return to the area to holiday.
RESOLVED: That Cabinet:
· Approved the proposed contribution of £50,000 for the purposes set out in paragraph 4.4 of the report;
· Delegated authority to the Corporate Director Communities, in consultation with the Chief Officer – Legal and Regulatory Services, HR and Corporate Policy and Chief Officer – Finance, Performance and Change to sign a Rights Agreement on behalf of the Council;
Authorised officers to establish and support a Senior Open Championship liaison group for the purposes set out in paragraph 4.6 of the report.