Professional golf tournament to bring bounty for area businesses

When the weeklong Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospitals for Children Open kicks off Oct. 1, it will mark a week of prosperity for local businesses.

TPC Summerlin, 1700 Village Center Circle, hosts the event, and general manager Lee Smith said it has been in preparation mode for the past six months.

“This tournament puts our golf course, our club, essentially on a world stage when it comes to golf,” he said. “All the other tournaments, being a private club, are somewhat confined to our membership and the community. This one will involve the United States and the world.”

Smith said he couldn’t put a publicity price tag as to how much exposure the golf club gets from the tournament but said he would have to buy TV time in 50 countries as well as all 50 states to equal it.

The number of attendees is always a factor in how many business dollars are brought in by the tournament. Last year saw about a 30 percent increase in attendance, Smith estimated, something he credited to the ability of tournament director Adam Sperling to engage local businesses.

Plus, it “always helps when our local tour players are participating and are within a couple shots of the lead,” he said. “Friends and family want to come out and watch them play … the tournament is much improved in a lot of different areas, whether it’s food and beverage, whether it’s the entertainment that’s provided for the week. All of those things have improved year after year, and people see it as an entertainment source.”

Tournament officials reported that attendance numbers were 25,000 in 2010 and 35,000 in 2011. Sperling forecasted there will be 40,000 attendees this year, with the majority staying the entire week in Las Vegas.

So, how much revenue does TPC Summerlin see from hosting the tournament?

“Financially, it’s significant, but it’s not quantifiable to the dollar,” Smith said. “Having your club —- a private club where membership acquisition is the lifeblood of the club —- having your golf course and club put on the world stage is priceless.”

The 40,000 attendance estimate for the week gives one an idea of how well the club does. Smith said it was the most profitable event of the year.

Around 50 temporary employees are needed for the week to supplement normal staffing levels. The golf club partners with the University of Nevada, Las Vegas’ PGA golf management program for the Timberlake tournament to find many of them. The food and beverage departments will see “significantly more” employees, he said.

Expo Row, the area with booths, allows about a dozen local businesses to have a presence.

What kind of impact does Sperling see the tournament having on the Summerlin-area economy?

“I think it’s a significant bump,” he said. “There are tens of thousands of spectators, over a thousand volunteers, several hundred vendors and 132 PGA Tour players and their families all looking for places to eat and sleep, as well as things to do.”

Sperling said volunteers come from all 50 states and a number of Canadian provinces, as well as Europe and Africa. The tournament has arrangements for special rates at area hotels, including the Suncoast, the JW Marriott and Red Rock Resort.

The Suncoast, 9090 Alta Drive, has the added advantage of being the tournament’s general parking site. A shuttle will take attendees to the course and directly back to the property.

Because of their proximity, Boca Park and Tivoli Village will likely see increased traffic, Sperling said.

Daily and weeklong tickets for the 2012 tournament can be purchased at jtshrinersopen.com or by calling
873-1010. Rates start at $10, plus a convenience fee.

As a celebration of 30 years of PGA Tour golf in Las Vegas, the tournament will roll back ticket prices Oct. 4, with $3 tickets to be available online and at the tournament gate. A $1.50 fee will apply. The ticket price reflects the prices of the tournament’s first year in Las Vegas in 1983 when Fuzzy Zoeller won.

This year’s tournament will be Justin Timberlake’s last as celebrity host.

Contact Summerlin/Summerlin South View reporter Jan Hogan at jhogan@viewnews.com or 387-2949.

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