Island wins big from global sport

  • The crowds turned out for the inaugural Bermuda Championship at Port Royal (Photograph by Lawrence Trott)

    The crowds turned out for the inaugural Bermuda Championship at Port Royal (Photograph by Lawrence Trott)

International sporting events have put Bermuda in the spotlight, and money into island tills, the Bermuda Tourism Authority’s chief executive said.

Kevin Dallas said that MS Amlin World Triathlon Bermuda may have generated less buzz on the island because of the absence of home-grown superstar Flora Duffy from the main event, but the competition was more successful than in 2018 in terms of visitor numbers.

He said early indicators suggested the first PGA Bermuda Championship was also a success for the island.

Mr Dallas said: “The reason why we went for this event was when we looked at what the PGA tour could bring to Bermuda, it was a function of both the direct economic impact of having the event and the media value of the viewership.

“This was an alternate event; it ran opposite to [the WGC-HSBC Champions tournament] in China, but the reason we went for it was this was priced as an alternate event, but it has a disproportionate value media exposure because the event it is opposite is in China.

“Most alternate events don’t get the prime-time live broadcast because that goes to the World Golf Championship — this event did.”

He added: “We are really pleased by the initial figures we have seen and pleased by the rebroadcasts, but we are waiting on the Nielson data and the KPMG report before we can definitively say what the event produced both in direct impact and media value.”

Mr Dallas predicted the Bermuda Championship would be a bigger event in the future.

He said: “This year, I think the Bermuda Championship was organised on a runway that no one thought possible, and the quality of the event that was delivered gives us the content and the data that will make it a much easier sell to potential sponsors, to visitors, to anyone who might choose to activate for a corporate event around that.

“We are bullish on the potential of that event for next year, especially now that there is a full year to plan it.”

Meanwhile, Mr Dallas acknowledged the absence of our own international superstar affected WTS Bermuda. But he added: “We are super excited to have [Duffy] back in 2020 and really thrilled about the Grand Finals in 2021.

“We actually had more visitors than we had last year, so the economic impact of that event actually went up this year.”

Mr Dallas said the drive for sports tourism will continue next year with even more events on the calendar.

He explained the United States Tennis Association Foundation Pro-Am would be held in April.

Mr Dallas said: “When we became the official tourism partner with the US Open, they agreed to host an event here in Bermuda that will bring tennis stars and rising stars.”

The tournament will also be broadcast on the Tennis Channel, which is expected to give Bermuda extra exposure overseas.

Next year will also feature the regular Newport-Bermuda yacht race and the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race, which will stop in Hamilton in June.

Mr Dallas said that legislation designed to encourage super yachts to visit the island would also come into force next month.

He added: “In the long run we are very confident that we can develop ourselves as a yacht market, but we need to recognise that we are not in the Caribbean, so a lot of the island-hopping that charter boats do in that region is not available here.

“But there are compelling itineraries for boats to be here.

“The ambition at this stage is that many of the boats are already passing by us as they go between the Mediterranean and the Caribbean, so our goal in the short term is to get more of them to stop for longer and to get more of their owners to come by and use the boat while it is here.”

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Published Dec 18, 2019 at 8:00 am (Updated Dec 18, 2019 at 2:37 pm)

Island wins big from global sport

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