Tourney's worth hasn't been studied, but it's likely a bunch
Randy Metcalf/The Explorer, Workers construct grandstands for spectators at the driving range in preparation for the World Golf Championships — Accenture Match Play Championship that begins next week.

There's been no study of the World Golf Championships — Accenture Match Play Championship's economic impact on greater Tucson.

There has been such analysis of the Players Championship in Jacksonville, Fla., an event and city similar to Match Play and Tucson in numbers. That study identifies a $100 million effect.

"Now, that number's probably not as high" for Match Play, said Judy McDermott, executive director of the Tucson Conquistadores. "There's not as much money with the economy."

Match Play executive director Wade Dunagan is "more comfortable with $60 million or $70 million versus the $100 million," McDermott said.

The PGA Tour's David Pillsbury estimates the effect "somewhere in the range of $45 million to $60 million. … The economic impact of a tournament of this magnitude is indeed significant," he said at a media event in January.

For McDermott, "so much of it … you can't even count it. Advertising from the 28 hours of television alone, you can't buy that. Think about all the eyeballs that are on Arizona, from telecasts to reruns to feeds to news, to the Golf Channel. All those impressions have a value to them.

"It's like commercials in the Super Bowl," McDermott said. "It's a number that is totally debatable to capture it, but we know the number's a big one."

Last year's tournament was televised in more than 200 countries, and was viewed in an estimated 463 million homes.

"Those 463 million households, we are going to be on stage," said Jeff McCormick, director of golf operations for the Ritz-Carlton Golf Club, Dove Mountain.

This year, the Match Play Championship is back-to-back with the Waste Management Phoenix Open.

"Four two weeks, the entire golfing world will have their eyes on Arizona in February," Dunagan said. "It's an opportunity for our state to shine, for one of our leading industries to shine."

The purse alone is $8.5 million, won by independent contractors who have to file income tax returns with the state of Arizona. "Think of a company with an $8.5 million payroll," said McDermott. "That's a lot. It does go into the equation. And Accenture spends a ton of money here."

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