Toledo aims to maximize potential impact from Solheim Cup
TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - Solheim Cup organizers aren’t lowering their expectations for the impact the women’s golf tournament will have on northwest Ohio as pandemic restrictions are lifted and construction projects push forward.
It’s expected to generate more than $30 million for the local economy and attract tens of thousands of people to the region. The actual tournament between Team USA and Team Europe is scheduled to start on August 31 at Inverness Golf Club, with group practices. It concludes with the championship on Labor Day, September 6.
Local officials are putting an extra emphasis on the events around the tournament to make it an experience that’s bigger than golf. Construction projects are ongoing across Toledo to give the Glass City a facelift heading into the tournament in order to make the best global impression possible.
The expectation for the event’s economic impact remains high as Ohio lifts COVID-19 restrictions.
“Everyone’s getting behind it and rolling out the red carpet,” said Destination Toledo President and CEO Lance Woodworth. “Coming out of COVID, it is such an important shot in the arm economically that we need so awfully bad right now.”
Part of what will determine how successful the tournament is includes the fan turnout. Ticket sales are underway, but the tournament known for its rowdy, patriotic fans relies on a showing from passionate European fans when it’s hosted on U.S. soil. 8-10% of tickets each tournament in the U.S. are sold to European fans, according to Solheim Cup Tournament Director Becky Newell.
So far, about 3% of tickets sold for the 2021 Solheim Cup are to European fans, according to Newell. Many of them are still in limbo as they wait to see if travel restrictions are lifted in time for the tournament.
“You want those fans in the stands,” Woodworth said, who saw the 2019 Solheim Cup in Scotland. “We want the European fans here. It really adds to the atmosphere.”
U.S. ticket sales have enjoyed a boost thanks to Ohio lifting health restrictions. Michigan, California, Florida, and Texas are among the states with the most ticket sales outside of Ohio.
Newell said she’s pleased with the progress organizers are making to prepare for the tournament; their sponsors and partners have been on board since day one and stuck by the event through the pandemic.
But she says the biggest challenge ahead is finding enough local volunteers, who are critical to executing a global event that will be live-streamed in 220 countries. You can learn more about volunteering here.
Woodworth and others have said the Solheim Cup will be the largest event Toledo has ever hosted. He hopes it will be the catalyst to bringing more high-profile events to the region.
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