WIRRAL and the Northwest can expect an economic bonanza of around £100m when the Open Golf Championship returns to Hoylake in two years time, according to R&A studies.

Golf's governing body based their forecast on an independent exercise carried out by researchers at the Sport Industry Centre at Sheffield Hallam University into the likely economic benefits to the regional economy delivered by this year’s Open at Royal Lytham and St Anne’s on the Lancashire coast.

A Royal and Ancient spokesman said that the predicted £90m economic boost from this summer's championship could well be exceeded when the event is staged in Wirral in 2014.

He said: "It is reasonable to speculate that with spectator numbers traditionally higher at Royal Liverpool, the total economic benefit to the region will be greater in 2014."

The headline figure for Royal Lytham includes a forecast economic impact of £35.1 million and a destination marketing benefit of £52.6 million gained through global television exposure of the week-long event (15-22 July 2012).

Researchers at Sheffield Hallam University base their economic impact forecast on 185,000 spectators admissions and the established spending pattern of players, the media, event staff, sponsors and organisers measured over the last two championships.

Commenting on the research findings R&A Executive Director - Championships, Johnnie Cole-Hamilton said: "The Open Championship comes to England’s Golf Coast to provide the best players in the world with a true test of golf and it is good to know that we also bring an important financial boost to the host economy."

Welcoming The Open Championship economic impact forecast Fylde Borough Council Chief Executive, Allan Oldfield said: "Having The Open Championship in town is clearly beneficial to local people and businesses in Fylde and we look forward to welcoming the many thousands of spectators destined to attend this years event".

Lancashire County Council Chief Executive, Phil Halsall said that hosting the event could make a real difference to the economic outlook of the region.

Companies in the North West are demonstrating their enthusiasm to do business at The Open accounting for 30 percent of official hospitality sales to date. Overall official hospitality sales are a third up on last year at this time with some packages already sold out.

By July 2014 The Open Championship will have been staged in the North West four times in eight years: Royal Liverpool (2006 and 2014), Royal Birkdale (2008) and Royal Lytham & St Annes (2012).

The Open Championship is golf’s oldest major championship. Played since 1860 on British links golf courses it has qualifying events on every continent. For one week each year, the pursuit of the famous Claret Jug trophy is the focus of the sporting world, followed globally by millions of fans.

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