The Ryder Cup has landed in Paris and the biggest show in World Golf will tee off for real on Friday morning.
When the tournament was staged at the K Club in 2006, the recognised value to Ireland was put at €143 Million.
It was perhaps a different era, pre-crash, and the value was over 30 percent more than it had been in England four years previously. It was also more than the £80 Million which it was said to have generated in Wales four years later and the more than £100 Million from Gleaneagles when it was last staged in Europe.
270,000 people will walk through the gates of Paris National this weekend, paying an average of €170 for the privilege.
That makes it far and away the biggest event in Europe and the impact it has on the revenue of the European Tour is similar to that which the Rugby World Cup has in that bigger ball game.
There will be a new TV deal negotiated after this year. Sky and the BBC have rights to the tournament this weekend as they have for the past six years.
In terms of sponsorship Aberdeen Standard Investments, Emirates, BMW and Rolex are the official partners with Hewlett Packard, Nestle, Moet Hennessy and Workday among the others to lend their name and support.
Sponsorship deals are split with the PGA Tour and the European Tour offering different opportunities to their own teams. Michelob signed up as official beer sponsor of the USA team earlier this year but Europe sticks to Champagne.
Like the US Masters and the Open Championship, the Ryder Cup has eschewed the higher sponsorship revenues that might be possible from a quick sale of the soul to become the Sport for Business Ryder Cup as is the case with most other events, particularly in the US.
Last week’s drama with Tiger Woods was played against a very overt Fed Ex branding.
The appeal instead lies in the exclusivity and a more subtle approach to a higher spending demographic than is available to almost every other sport.
It works for the European Tour. Its revenues have been rising consistently but the overall take in 2017 at €210 Million was short of the 2014 figure of €231 Million boosted by that year’s Ryder Cup.
All of this matters as we could be in the hunt for staging another Ryder Cup in the next decade.
Next year will see the Open come to Northern Ireland, a tournament which has already sold out its public sale ticket allocation. That continued level of hunger for the game does not go unnoticed and the appeal of Ireland to a US audience is stronger than anywhere else.
JP McManus has made no secret of his wish to bring the tournament to Adare Manor in Limerick, where he has made a major investment in upgrading everything to way beyond a five-star standard.
No doubt he will be in the gallery in Paris this weekend, cheering on a European team who have not been beaten on home soil since 1993 but who go in as underdogs again this time round.
We will not know whether Adare has been selected, against likely opposition from Turkey at least, until September 2019.
For now though we are in with a strong shout. That’s a comfortable background against which to watch the action unfold through the weekend. It rarely if ever fails to exceed expectations.
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