The U.S. Open golf championship held at Chambers Bay generated $134 million for the region, according to a financial analysis commissioned by the USGA.
Included in those figures is $16.8 million in tax revenues — $10 million for the state and $6.8 million among Pierce, Thurston, King and Kitsap counties.
“I don’t think anyone can say we didn’t hit the mark,” Pierce County Executive Pat McCarthy said. “Pierce County did reap a financial benefit, but so did the region. This was a great economic driver.”
The report, commissioned by the USGA and conducted by Pierce County-based economists, studied the financial impact the June tournament had on the four counties and the state.
Of the $134 million economic impact, about $110 million was felt by the state as a whole, according to the report. The regional benefit was higher because it included spending by Washington residents who traveled to Chambers Bay from outside the four-county region. The state number focused on spending by out-of-state visitors.
More than half of the 110,000 unique visitors to Chambers Bay came from Pierce, Thurston, Kitsap and King counties. Fourteen percent came from other Washington counties and approximately one-third of visitors were from out of state or out of the country.
On average, out-of-state attendees make up 40 to 60 percent of U.S. Open spectators, according to Reg Jones, USGA managing director of open championships.
USGA officials expected a high percentage of attendees at Chambers Bay to be from Washington because it was the first time the championship was held in the Pacific Northwest, Jones said.
Economic impacts were determined by studying off-site spending by U.S. Open visitors on things like accommodations, restaurants and bars, food and liquor stores, shopping, transportation, and recreation. The report also looked at spending by the USGA, its contracted vendors and local government spending to measure overall impacts.
The USGA doesn’t conduct financial reviews after every championship but wanted one for the Chambers Bay event because it was the first U.S. Open in the Northwest.
“This data helps us understand this market better,” USGA spokeswoman Janeen Driscoll said.
The USGA and its contracted vendors spent $13.3 million in the four-county region to put on the event. That includes reported retail spending for local goods and services.
The report also estimated local governments spent $7.6 million in the region to put on the tournament. Pierce County spent roughly $4 million, mostly on course preparation and security.
The boost to Washington’s economy is similar to other states that have hosted the U.S. Open, Jones said.
Past tournaments at Torrey Pines in California, North Carolina’s Pinehurst and Bethpage in New York have generated between $140 to $160 million for local economies, he said.
Those sites are larger than Chambers Bay and sell more tickets, resulting in higher paid attendance, he said.
“I think it stacks up very well in conjunction with the number of people,” Jones said of the report. “They are numbers we were certainly pleased to see.”