Business Watch:toshiba:

Classic earnings

Golf tournament estimated to bring Newport more than $20M annually, not to mention an incalculable amount of worldwide PR.

March 02, 2008|By Michael Miller

How much value does the Toshiba Classic golf tournament have for Newport Beach?

Jeff Purser, the tournament’s executive director, knows only one thing: Whatever the answer is, it can’t be figured on a calculator. He guessed that the weeklong event brings the city more than $20 million in revenue each year, but money, he said, only tells part of the story.

“I think that’s a nice number, but I think the residual value is much greater because we’re on worldwide television,” Purser said. “We have national publications that write about the event here in Newport Beach. We make as much effort as we can to engage the national media like ESPN and its affiliates throughout the country. In my opinion, that’s more valuable to the area than the economic impact.


“It’s probably not recognized for as much as it does in the community.”

This morning, the 14th annual tournament is set to begin at Newport Beach Country Club. The action, though, won’t be confined to the golf course. During the week of the Toshiba Classic each year, hotel rooms fill across town with players, their family members, coaches and caddies; restaurants and shopping centers in Newport Beach and beyond get a boom in business.

“It’s substantial, to say the least,” said Richard Luehrs, the president of the Newport Beach Chamber of Commerce. “I don’t know if anyone’s done an actual study on it, but when you consider the restaurant usage and the hotel overnight stays and retail shopping that goes on with the pros and their spouses, it doesn’t take long to add up into the multi-millions.”

Purser, who works year-round to plan the Toshiba Classic, could provide at least a few numbers. He estimated that the tournament books more than 3,000 hotel room nights and brings in more than $1 million in food sales each year.

“It’s like the circus is in town,” Purser said.

Laura Davis, the marketing director of Fashion Island, and Debra Gunn Downing, the executive director of marketing for South Coast Plaza, said they got some of their briskest business of the year during the Toshiba Classic. South Coast Plaza has another special connection to the tournament: The Bulgari accessories store provides a $5,000 stainless steel watch each year to the first-place winner.

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