Scottish Open secured for Scotland
A significant funding package for the Scottish Open that will secure the economic and sporting benefits of the tournament for the whole of Scotland was announced today by the Scottish Government, European Tour and Aberdeen Asset Management PLC.
First Minister Alex Salmond joined George O’Grady of the European Tour and Martin Gilbert of Aberdeen Asset Management at Edinburgh Castle to announce a sponsorship deal that will see the global investment management group become title sponsor of the prestigious event over the next three years.
The First Minister also announced that the Scottish Government would continue its strong support for European Tour events in the run-up to the 2014 Ryder Cup by investing in the tournament, which has significant benefits for Scotland both in terms of direct tourist revenue and television exposure to overseas visitors.
Mr Salmond confirmed that the deal would also help the next generation of Scottish golfing talent, with a festival of ClubGolf just one of the exciting plans for a junior golf programme to be developed around the new Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open tournament schedule.
That festival will showcase everything that is good about the Scottish Government’s innovative scheme, which seeks to put a club in the hands of every nine-year-old in the country.
First Minister Alex Salmond said:
"The Scottish Open is one of the flagship events on the European Tour as well as a jewel in the crown of the Scottish sporting calendar that attracts keen interest from golf fans across the world.
"I am therefore delighted to announce that Scottish Government funding, alongside major sponsorship from Aberdeen Asset Management, has helped secure the future of this prestigious tournament for Scotland.
"This fantastic event brings significant benefits to the whole of Scotland, both in terms of tourism revenue and the television exposure around the world to golfers and others interested in travelling to our shores. Last year's tournament alone was worth more than £5m to the Scottish economy.
"Not only will today's announcement ensure these benefits continue, but our agreement to link the tournament to junior golf events and ClubGolf will deliver a legacy beyond 2014 by driving up participation levels and helping unearth the next generation of Scottish golfing stars.
“Last year, around 1,200 children took part in fantastic activities during the tournament. This year we will build on that with a festival of ClubGolf around the event.
“Scotland is already recognised worldwide as the Home of Golf, and with the Ryder Cup set to be played here in 2014 as well as the new commitment to the iconic Scottish Open announced today, everyone in this country can look forward to a bright future for Scottish golf.”
The Scottish Government’s funding package comprises £2m over the next three years. Funding for the youth golf programme and ClubGolf festival will be backed by CashBack for Communities, which uses money confiscated from criminals to provide diversionary activities for young people.
An independent economic impact study commissioned by Highlands and Islands Enterprise found that more than £5 million was contributed to the Scottish economy as a result of the 2011 Scottish Open.
The study showed that £3.7 million of gross total expenditure occurred in the Inverness and Nairn area, a further £370,000 elsewhere in the Highlands and Islands and nearly £1 million elsewhere in Scotland.
The tournament generated extensive international media coverage, including over 580 hours of global TV coverage, valued at over £6m of benefit to Scotland.
Since its inception in 2003, 220,000 children have been introduced to golf at school through the Scottish Government’s ClubGolf programme, which aims to put a club in the hands of every nine-year-old in the country.
Last year, the Scottish Government announced the initiative would have its funding extended with an investment worth £2 million between 2014 and 2018.