Across golf’s four biggest tournaments in 2021 (with the exception of the teams-based Ryder Cup), lost ticket sales revenue because of attendance restrictions came to an estimated figure of almost $50 million, according to a new GlobalData Sport report.

Combined, it has been calculated that for golf's four majors – The Masters, the US PGA Championship, the US Open, and The Open – the restrictions on how many fans could attend, because of fears related to the coronavirus pandemic, led to losses of $47.36 million, as shown in GlobalData’s ‘Major Men’s Golf Events in 2021’ post-event analysis.

The report has calculated how much income was generated through the fans that did attend and then how much income would then have been added on if 100 per cent capacity had been an option.

The US Open in California, according to the report, suffered the most – with a capacity limit of only 25 per cent across its four days in June, the tournament generated $5.8 million in ticketing revenue but missed out on as much as $17.4 million more, effectively only generating a quarter of what could have been secured if full capacity had been allowed.

The Masters, which was held in Augusta, Georgia, in April, also missed out on over $15 million in ticketing revenue, with the report advising that the tournament lost $16.5 million in income due to another attendance cap over the four-day event of just 25 per cent. Again, this equated to three-quarters of all potential ticketing income being lost. 

That event secured only $5.2 million in ticketing revenue, as opposed to bringing in over $21 million if restrictions had not been in place.

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While the US PGA Championships, which had a slightly higher attendance limit of 33 per cent, and The Open in Scotland, which was able to have a 75-per cent-capacity crowd across its four days, did not see as much potential income lost because of restrictions, both still had to deal with estimated losses of over $5 million.

The Open, held at the St. George’s golf course in July, saw $5.1 million in potential earnings disappear, while the PGA Championships in South Carolina in May missed out on another $8.2 million because of the limits.

However, despite the loss in ticketing revenues, the four majors mentioned above were still able to offer a combined total of $47.5 million – more than the total lost revenue as estimated by GlobalData’s report – in prize money, with the four champions earning a combined $8.55 million.

As a contrast, the report also analysed the ticket income situation at the 2021 Ryder Cup, the latest edition of the biennial competition between teams from Europe and the USA, which took place in Wisconsin last month.

At that four-day event, 100 per cent capacity was allowed, with 135,000 fans estimated to be in attendance in total.

The revenues derived purely from ticket sales for that event, therefore, came to $27 million – only around $3 million below the combined income from ticket sales at the four majors mentioned above combined.

Jake Kemp, sport analyst at GlobalData, has commented: “By the time the Ryder Cup teed off, full crowds were permitted … This recent change in attitudes has eased the financial concerns of event organisers after missed revenue from the four main golf majors this year went as high as $47.36 million.

“The earlier calendar events meanwhile, at the Masters and PGA Championships, were as a contrast hit with 25 and 33 per cent maximum capacities.”