JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Before Ponte Vedra Beach will be on the international stage in three weeks when The Players Championship 2017 tees off at The Players Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass, business leaders met Tuesday at the Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce to discuss how the tournament grows and boosts the local economy.
The Players Championship brings world-class golfers to Northeast Florida and has an estimated economic impact of more than $151 million.
Last year, 213,000 people attended the premier sporting event. The attendees included fans, business executives and media from around the world.
Sawgrass is the perfect place for business executives locally and nationally to grow business, entertain clients and build relationships.
Jacksonville University says the event is its highest return on investment vehicle.
“This is a powerful and high-impact event that our visitors simply love,” Jacksonville University President Tim Cost said. “The Players gives us a unique venue to bring in our clients from across the globe to both entertain and proudly showcase what our university, and our community, has to offer.”
US Assure says it uses hospitality packages at The Players Club as a major business development tool.
“Our involvement, and use of The Players, continues to grow each year,” Schwartz said. “The tournament has hosting opportunities for businesses of all sizes and The Players Club is an excellent way to showcase our community, the tournament and your company."
Last year, Duval County had an 84 percent hotel occupancy rate. St. Johns County was just behind that, at 83 percent during The Players Championship week.
And, of course, local restaurants and surrounding businesses see great benefit from the tournament. More than half of ticket sales come from outside the five-county area. The Players also invests back to the community by partnering with more than 350 local businesses and creating 2,000 jobs during the tournament.
The Players Championship is broadcast to more than 1 billion households in 226 countries and territories in 31 languages.
“We consider ourselves the best fan experience in golf and that accrues to any number of ways in which you may want to come out and enjoy the event. So that could be socially from bringing out your family to from a business perspective as you just mentioned, a host of programs that we have in the good, better, best VIP ranges so we really have something for everyone and I think that’s what really sets us apart," said Jared Rice, executive director of The Players.
During Tuesday's discussion, Jax Chamber Chair Darnell Smith also thanked The Players for its commitment to Northeast Florida. Proceeds from The Players benefit Northeast Florida charities and have totaled more than $84 million since the event moved to Ponte Vedra Beach in 1977, including a record $8.5 million generated in 2016.
The 6-day event will kick off the tournament with the traditional Military Appreciation Day on May 9, and Grammy-nominated country singer Sam Hunt will perform on the 17th hole.
For more on The Players, including ticket information, click here.