Shortly after Bronte Law finished her winner’s speech at the recent LPGA tournament at Kingsmill Resort, the course was empty except for workers who had started cleaning up.
However, the impact the event had on Williamsburg, James City County and surrounding areas is expected to be around much longer.
Studies released since the LPGA Tour returned to Kingsmill in 2012 from a two-year hiatus have shown it provides more than $6 million in economic impact each year. The impact of this year’s event, the Pure Silk Championship presented by Visit Williamsburg, is expected to be about the same.
Dave Potter, the director of marketing communications with the Greater Williamsburg Chamber and Tourism Alliance, said Visit Williamsburg allocated $150,000 for the tournament.
But he, and other sponsors, said the tournament’s impact goes beyond the economics.
“I think the benefits of doing this is more than just sports. Golf is a big draw for Williamsburg and the Williamsburg area, so it’s showing support there and awareness for the sport in Williamsburg,” he said. “And being associated with a national brand, Pure Silk, and the LPGA is an image-building campaign.”
Scott Stevens, who has been the James City County administrator since Oct. 1, 2018, said the county provided $85,000 of partnership support while the county’s economic development arm provided $26,000.
“I think the impact, regardless, is still pretty significant for James City County,” he said. “It does get us national recognition, and I think that’s good for the community. So for me, it likely impacts beyond just the actual event itself.”
Among the things sponsors received were tickets to the event, national and local television exposure, an online presence as well as a presence at the course and in marketing materials.
But some of the benefits are hard to track.
“When you get national attention, you never know what families may visit or what business may decide this is someplace they ought to consider as well,” Stevens said. “Those are things that are probably a little harder to quantify or calculate. But I think the positive news that goes along with having this kind of event here carries well beyond the event itself.”
The tournament, which also brings 144 players, their caddies, families and support staff to the area, has been a favorite of the players for years. And while exact attendance figures aren’t released, it is one of the area’s biggest events every year.
“Generally, when the week goes well, it’s about 60,000 for the week,” said Lauren Hall, the tournament coordinator.
This was the first year of a three-year deal with Pure Silk, which makes women’s shaving products, as the title sponsor.