Local businesses are Ryder winners, but big gain could be future for DuPage
Lynfred Winery in Roselle had its bed-and-breakfast suites booked, wine-tasting rooms packed, more food added to its menu and staffing increased at least 50 percent.
While the suburban winery hasn't yet added up its profits, it certainly has never experienced busier weekdays than during the Ryder Cup, said Lynfred marketing director Christina Anderson-Heller.
"It was more like a weekend atmosphere here all week," Anderson-Heller said.
Lynfred, like other businesses around DuPage County, laid out the red carpet to tens of thousands of visitors of the 39th Ryder Cup golf tournament, which ends today.
The international event was on target to provide an immediate economic influx of about $130 million for businesses in the entire Chicago region, including about $80 million for DuPage County businesses, local economic development officials say. It also will produce a yet-to-be-determined windfall of sales taxes for local and state governments.
Even more long-term benefits could be in store. Officials from the DuPage County Board, Choose DuPage, DuPage County Convention & Visitors Bureau and others wooed visiting business executives from around the world in hopes they'll make the county their new headquarters.
"The Ryder Cup puts DuPage County on the world stage," said Greg Bedalov, president and CEO of Choose DuPage, touting the chance to show off the county.
"DuPage County is a great destination for businesses to hold a global meeting, or better yet, to relocate a world headquarters," he said.
For more than a year, local economic development officials have been working with the PGA to host the Ryder Cup at Medinah Country Club. They've planned on both short- and long-term economic gains from visitors staying at hotels, paying for transportation, eating locally and visiting entertainment facilities.
County officials heavily marketed the region to business executives during the tournament by holding receptions, shaking hands and making phone calls, all intended to make DuPage more attractive for company relocations or expansions, said DuPage County Board Chairman Dan Cronin. He couldn't say what that cost but said since the events "piggybacked" on the Ryder, the expenses were "nominal."
"We're just showing them a little love," Cronin said about wooing businesses.
The Ryder Cup has consistently been an economic driver for the host city and its surrounding area. For example, the Ryder Cup in 2010 boosted the economy in Wales by the equivalent of about $134 million. The figure was based on a study conducted by IFM Sports Marketing Surveys that included interviews with spectators, local businesses, golf clubs and others, according to the PGA.
Locally, the immediate economic winners were suburban hotels, restaurants, golf courses, entertainment venues, gas stations, transportation companies and merchandisers, officials said.
A number of hotels were solidly booked, including the Hilton Chicago Indian Lakes Resort, Bloomingdale Marriott Residence Inn and Courtyard by Marriott in Bloomingdale.
And many were commanding higher-than-usual rates, according to a survey by Chicagohotels.org. For example, the Hyatt Place in Itasca had published a rate of $199 for a room that had been going for $76, the website said.
Limo, taxi, car rental firms and other ground transportation, local airports, such as O'Hare International, DuPage County and Rockford International, all enjoyed extra traffic — and extra revenue.
For example, the Chicago Rockford International Airport received the European Ryder Cup team via a privately chartered Airbus 340, which offers a glimpse at how wide the regional economic impact of the Ryder Cup was and how local airports worked together to accommodate event participants. The aircraft carried about 250 passengers, including the European team members, staff, and their families from London. Rockford, DuPage County and O'Hare worked together to accommodate all the passengers on various flights, said Mike Dunn, Rockford's director.
The event gave regional airports the rare opportunity to take video to use in promotional pieces that could encourage more future passengers and increase business, Dunn said.
The huge event came with a cost — in inconvenience, if nothing else. Medinah neighbors had to deal with the crush of people in local stores and on roads, and companies had to postpone work on the Route 53/Rohlwing Road construction project, experts said. Medinah members lost the use of their club for weeks.
Despite any inconveniences, the surrounding communities benefit in the long run, said Bernadette "Dee" LaRocca, executive director of the Addison Chamber of Commerce.
"It presents a great opportunity for these communities to introduce themselves to the thousands of visitors, call attention to what they have to offer, and put our best foot forward for the world to see," she said.
Rick Horrow, CEO of Horrow Sports Ventures in West Palm Beach, Fla., and host of Bloomberg TV's "Sportfolio," agreed.
"There's no guarantee on what will happen, and it all depends on how they implement their marketing, but I see great things for this region after the Ryder Cup," he said.
The $80 million anticipated influx of cash in the DuPage region represents the amount of money spent by visitors outside of the Medinah golf course on food, lodging, entertainment and more, said Skip Strittmatter, executive director of the DuPage County Convention & Visitors Bureau.
"And that's a very conservative estimate," she said.
"We estimate that each person will spend at least $300 a day outside the course during the event, but there are going to be people who spend $300 just on their hotel room," Strittmatter said.
In addition to roughly 40,000 visitors, local businesses were expected to hire extra staff members to handle the crowds. And there were an untold number of volunteers on and off the course. All those people ate, drank, slept and spent their dollars here, too, she said.
"This is definitely bigger than the Super Bowl," she said.
In contrast to international events like the NATO meeting held in Chicago earlier this year, "there are no major expenditures from DuPage," Strittmatter said. "The PGA is handling security and working things out with the local communities."
Meanwhile, the "Welcome Ryder Cup" signs are up in abundance.
"We would be delighted to learn in the aftermath that many people who came here as first-time visitors to our area, found it to be a welcoming and interesting community that they would want to return to — and if they are relocating, would want to live here," LaRocca said.
• More coverage of the Ryder Cup is at dailyherald.com/sports/pro/rydercup.
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