Mr. Speaker, this week’s announcement that Bermuda will host its first-ever mainstream PGA TOUR event, the Bermuda Championship, is a very exciting development for sports tourism in Bermuda.
PGA TOUR events are broadcast to international audiences and this is an excellent opportunity for Port Royal Golf Course to host a top-level sporting event in October this year. The TV coverage, to be aired primetime in North America, will showcase Bermuda’s stunning natural beauty and the legendary hospitality and friendliness of its people to a wide audience of discerning travellers.
The Bermuda Tourism Authority (BTA) has signed a five-year agreement with the PGA TOUR as title sponsor of the Bermuda Championship. And, please note, this will be a fully sanctioned TOUR player event, which distinguishes it from the PGA Grand Slam of Golf: players entering this Championship are playing for points that count towards the $35 million FedEx Cup purse.
In the TOUR calendar, the Bermuda Championship will sit opposite the HSBC World Golf Championship in Shanghai, replacing the Sanderson Farms Championship which has been upgraded to a stand-alone PGA TOUR event. While the very top players – including Tiger Woods - will be in China, Bermuda can expect to host up to 120 of the world’s top players, including a diverse group of rising stars in the golf world. Compared with other ‘alternate’ events on the PGA TOUR, the Bermuda Championship is a cost-effective and valuable media property because, for the North American audience, the Shanghai event is taking place overnight, while our event will take place in prime viewing time.
Mr Speaker, the Government is confident the primary objectives in securing this event for Bermuda will be met. They are to:
- generate significant increased spending on-island during the fall shoulder season when the event is held,
- generate significant media exposure to increase awareness of Bermuda and showcase the island as a destination for golfing, tourism and business to the lucrative US and wider global audience, and,
- increase visitor numbers from key feeder markets as a result of hosting the event.
In fact, the PGA TOUR television audience is one that aligns very well with Bermuda’s target visitor profile.
- PGA TOUR audiences travel more times per year outside the US than average, making it more likely they will consider Bermuda as an international destination.
- PGA TOUR audiences are 82% more likely than average to spend over $6,000 per year on foreign travel, making it more likely they can afford to travel and spend in Bermuda.
- PGA TOUR audiences are 72% more likely than average to influence others in where to vacation, making it more likely that they will recommend Bermuda.
- PGA TOUR television audiences grew 27% in 2018 and is reaching a diverse younger audience beyond its traditional base.
The Bermuda Championship schedule will span almost a full week, once practice days and the Pro-Am rounds are taken into account. Also, the PGA TOUR will make available positions for the leading Bermudian golfers to play in the tournament.
Mr Speaker, the PGA TOUR requires that all sanctioned events have a purpose in the community in which they play. Youth and school engagement activations are examples of programmes that can be planned around the core event.
The Government is very excited to share this news, and the Ministry is looking forward to working with the PGA TOUR and the team at the Bermuda Tourism Authority to make the event an international success with the intention that Bermuda becomes an ‘annual fixture’ on the PGA TOUR calendar.
Thank you, Mr Speaker