Huge Crowds Expected To Go Through Ryder Cup Merchandise Shop At Medinah
The Ryder Cup is shaping up to be a financial bonanza for the PGA of America. The PGA says it expects 240,000 people on the course through the six days of the event -- three practice rounds, and three competitive rounds, which began Friday morning. The PGA does not release daily attendance figures, but some vendors have been told to expect as many as 60,000 people on the course each day. That will translate into huge merchandise numbers for Cutter & Buck, which manages the 45,000-square-foot Ryder Cup shop next to the 18th hole. Traffic through the merchandise tent was overwhelming as early as Wednesday, when the fire marshal halted the flow of people into the tent for about 15 minutes. Even with 50 checkout registers going, the line to pay went almost the length of the tent. More than 100 fans stood outside waiting to get in and only when buyers exited were more people allowed to enter. The Ryder Cup record for sales was set at Oakland Hills in '04 when the PGA sold $15M worth of hats, shirts and other logo gear. Early projections show this Ryder Cup on pace to surpass those numbers this weekend.
HOSPITALITY SALES STRONG: The PGA has enjoyed similar success with hospitality sales. Ryder Cup Tournament Exec Dir Michael Belot’s team sold 76 chalets, with prices ranging from $235,000 for 50 people up to a reported $1M for 150 people. The original plan called for 53 chalets, but sales went so well that the PGA kept building and selling them. Most of the chalets line both sides of the 18th hole, with others at holes 1, 2 and 15. Additional hospitality packages in the clubhouse begin at $150,000 for 30 people and go up to $450,000 for 125 people. The chalets at the 15th hole were not part of the original build-out, but they have become some of the most popular because of their location on the drivable par-4. In fact, many of the PGA’s partners -- including Omega and American Express -- elected to put their hospitality on the 15th because of the drama expected on the hole, which is guarded by water down the right side. The PGA does not disclose its sales numbers, but many industry veterans at the Ryder Cup said sales would probably approach $50M for the chalets, clubhouse rooms, individual hospitality clubs, viewing suites and corporate tables.