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Volume 7 No. 149
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Fan Interest In Ryder Cup Surges Over Four Years, Research Shows

Photo: NIELSEN SPORTS
Photo: NIELSEN SPORTS

The number of people interested in the Ryder Cup surged over the last four years, according to data revealed by Nielsen Sports. The upcoming tournament tees off in Paris on Sept. 28. Compared to the same period ahead of the last event hosted in Europe in '14, the number of fans has grown by more than 6.7 million. Of that, 1.1 million additional fans come from Europe, with a further 5.6 million from the U.S. Interest in the Ryder Cup peaks and falls either side of the event. With the continents alternating the hosting of the Ryder Cup, there is an observable difference in the way fan interest shifts. Where numbers naturally decline following a U.S. event, they peak following a European event. Ahead of the '18 competition, the U.K. market has the biggest proportion of Ryder Cup fans. In the U.K., 20% claim to be interested or very interested in the Ryder Cup, a number which could increase following the '18 event. The U.S. ranks second in terms of percentage of the population who are fans (15%), followed by Spain (12%), host France (6%), Germany (6%) and Italy (6%).

'MISSING A BIG TRICK': Despite the increase in fans' interest, industry experts believe the Ryder Cup could be missing out on major commercial opportunities. Global sponsorship management company SponServe Managing Dir Mark Thompson said, "The Ryder Cup poses one of the greatest rights opportunities in sports today. However, its full commercial potential remains untapped largely because the biennial competition is managed as two separate events by two different rightsholders. For larger international brand sponsors looking for sustained global exposure and asset ownership, this creates another barrier to entry and means the events are likely being undervalued. Selling sponsorship packages in silos in this way is counter-productive and whilst not the fault of the individual competitions, is a side effect of the way the event is currently managed commercially. This model could well be alienating large, long-term sponsorship deals and as a result be missing a big trick."