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Open Attendance Noticeably Down Over Last Muirfield Visit

In case you were wondering if the fans were coming dressed as empty green grandstand seats, the answer is now. Prices may be harming Open attendance at Muirfield despite great weather and sound infrastructure work by the R&A to get people here with relative ease.

Ron Sirak Tweeted the shocking drop from the last Open at Muirfield through two rounds.

Attendance at Muirfield down from 2002 in @The_Open with 23,393 Thursday compared to 30,620 in '02 and 29,144 Friday vs. 34,479.

The Daily Mail's Mike Dickson wrote in the Tee Room notes today that "Charging 75 pounds for a ticket is looking very steep in this economic climate."


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Reader Comments (20)

The empty grandstands have been surprising.
07.20.2013 | Unregistered Commentertlavin
A death spiral? Less attendance means less revenue, means jack up prices further, means less attendance?

Alternative is increase TV rights fees.
07.20.2013 | Unregistered Commenterotey
Human windbag and lover of pointless stats, Mike Tirico, tried yesterday to convince viewers that the event was well attended. He said the empty seats were because people were walking around. Then again, he works as part of a crew that seems genuinely awed by what Scots eat for breakfast...

Those prices are outrageous.
07.20.2013 | Unregistered CommenterDsl
To be fair, I would pay that much if it meant that I finally got to see Tiger hit a ball in person. But, I'd only go for one day and only once.
07.20.2013 | Unregistered CommenterDsl
What were the inflation-adjusted prices in 2002?
07.20.2013 | Unregistered Commenter3foot1
Been there, done that, not going again, thank you! The Open is very bad value and the tented village is a boring, rip off when once upon a time, it was one of the best parts of being there. Don't know the full story but disallowing John Letters from setting foot on the grounds seems on the surface as petty and only one example of wrong priorities. Once upon a time, Letters was the best and most coveted, club maker in GB & I but then marketing mumbo jumbo and bling, bling came along and the quality of the product doesn't matter as much anymore.
07.20.2013 | Unregistered CommenterIvan Morris
Ivan, why was John Letters disallowed?
07.20.2013 | Unregistered CommenterDTF

A spokesman for the R&A said: “There isn’t enough space to accommodate companies who don’t have players taking part. We explained this to John Letters some time ago.” SCOTLAND will today meet “auld enemy” .
07.20.2013 | Unregistered CommenterManuh
For not enough room read 'charging too much.'
07.20.2013 | Unregistered CommenterIvan Morris
Clearly there is enough room but the grandstands are overbuilt....take a few down and voila!
07.20.2013 | Unregistered CommenterDTF
The last time I went to the Open, was '96, Royal Lytham. Lehman won and the ticket for Sunday was £25.00. The price has trebled, but I know wages here haven't. An own goal by the powers that be.
07.20.2013 | Unregistered CommenterEasingwold
Those prices don't seem that bad when compared to U.S. Open tickets, but I think the various U.S. markets have gotten used to pretty steep prices.

My other guess for the reason behind lower attendance would be the fact that links courses aren't usually that spectator friendly and current TV coverage makes the viewing experience from the living room way better without the wind and sun burn. Plus there's pizza and high end root beer in my living room.
07.20.2013 | Unregistered CommenterKRoper
KRoper, I went to the 2009 US Open on 3 different days, total investment of $15. People literally couldn't give away tix to that Open. I assume Merion was different due to the small venue (?) but how were Pebble and Olympic? (the only 2 Open's between Bethpage and Merion)
07.20.2013 | Unregistered CommenterDTF
Does anyone else feel like the R & A is becoming the USGA. In other words, cashing in. Leadership in both organizations is by two guys that think they get it.....but don't.
07.20.2013 | Unregistered Commenterchema
Going off topic here but moaning about £75 tickets for the Open puts the prices they are charging for Glenagles at Ryder Cup into perspective.. approx £150 per day
07.21.2013 | Unregistered CommenterIrish Golf Nut
I feel that after attending every day of the last open at muirfield, which was a wonderful experience , that you have over priced the tickets for this year especially with the economic climate. People everwhere with families who enjoy golf cannot afford 2 adults to go every day, this has left a dramatic drop in the numbers attending. I am aware that this event brings revenue into east Lothian, however due to the infrastructure for parking and then bussing to the open, the businesses close to the open are also not experiencing the influx of visitors. Sadly the R&A have got it completely wrong this year, we won't be attending and I am not the only peron feeling this way, once tickets purchased food, ice cream, drinks etc everyone losing out sadly.

Drop the gate prices for today and you will see an influx and maybe make up for lost revenue.
07.21.2013 | Unregistered CommenterLouise
23000@£75= £1725000. 30000@ £50= £1500000. which would you prefer?Probably the latter in my case but I doubt the RandA accountants and the Muirfield green keepers would agree?!
07.21.2013 | Unregistered CommenterChico
@chico - I see your point but Mike Davis of USGA went against that deliberately at Merion. Tradition outweighs the mighty dollar sometimes.
07.21.2013 | Unregistered CommenterIrish Golf Nut
1/ £75 per day is far too much
2/ the tented village was a travesty,No club or equipment companies just credit cards, luxury cars and earth movers!
3/ we , the ordinary golfer, does not want to see the course set up with such difficulty, (irons of the tee!) we want to see a good drive
A perfect iron shot to the green and a few putts.....
07.21.2013 | Unregistered CommenterELTONIAN
£75 does not seem like much to a Canadian. Prices for this week's Canadian Open are $80 (which is about £53) for an event that is very much second rate compared to The Open Championship. My experience (I go to the UK about 4-5 times per year) is that most things are far more expensive in the UK than in North America with sporting tickets being one major exception. Hockey tickets for a regular season Toronto Maple Leafs game are $226 - it seems that the most expensive tickets for Man U are £52. I would argue that on a global scale that UK sports ticket prices are too low and are likely to increase in the future, especially for "world class" events like The Open Championship, Wimbledon and the EPL.

I also want to several events at the Olympics last year and as I recall many events were WAY over £75.
07.22.2013 | Unregistered CommenterWayner

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