Brands interested in the sponsorship opportunities offered by major sporting tournaments will want to take note of a new study that has found the number of people interested in the Ryder Cup has surged over the last four years.

The biennial men’s golf competition between teams from Europe and the US is due to start in Paris on 28th September and, in the four years since Europe last hosted the event, its fan base across both markets has grown by 6.7 million.

According to Nielsen Sports, the specialist insights firm, American fans accounted for 5.6 million of the total with the remaining 1.1 million extra fans coming from Europe.

Interestingly, the Nielsen research found that fan numbers tend to decline following an event in the US – the last one there was at the Hazeltine National Golf Club in Minnesota in 2016 – but they peak after one in Europe.

This suggests this year’s event in France could see fan numbers climb further, which the report said is something that the organisers, brands and broadcasters “will be looking to capitalise on”.

“During the last Ryder Cup on European soil in 2014, there was an uplift of an additional 6.4m fans in the months following the event”, said Marco Nazzari, managing director Europe at Nielsen Sports.

“Although those numbers return to their pre-event levels within 12 months, it will be interesting to see what impact this, only the second Ryder Cup to be hosted in continental Europe, will have on fans sizes,” he added.

Ahead of the 2018 competition, the Nielsen data revealed that 20% of British consumers say they are interested or very interested in the Ryder Cup – making the UK the global market with the highest proportion of fans.

The US ranks second, with 15% of people interested in the Ryder Cup, followed by Spain (12%) and France, Germany and Italy (all on 6%).

The Nielsen report also said that if interest in the tournament grows at the same rate as it has since 2014, then it is likely there will be a further 1% increase in the number of fans across both the US and European markets.

Although only a small increase, that is still a significant rise when considered across the collective populations [of roughly 640 million people].

Sourced from Nielsen Sports; additional content by WARC staff