Rome’s Italian Open championship. Economy, reputation and sentiment of a great event
May 17, 2017
During the duration of the most important Italian tennis event, spotlights turn on at the Foro Italico of Rome. A competition that is rich in events, with a large and loyal audience and the growing presence of the top names in the ATP ranking, which turn this tournament into a magnet for communication, marketing, and economy for an organization that has been growing in importance, but also in complexity, for many years now.
In the wake of the Internazionali BNL d’Italia (shortened as IBI)‘s obvious crescendo in all major economic and sports indicators (for example, turnover and participation in the tournament of all top players, to mention just the one), a project carried out by LUISS’ X.ite Research Center in collaboration with Ernst & Young aimed to measure the scope of the IBIs’ “economic” and “reputational” effects.
As for the economy of the Italian Open, both the direct economic value of the event and its indirect economic impact on the city of Rome were calculated. Ernst & Young’s analysis of the IBIs’ economic value considering the data for the 2015 edition showed a market value of the event, with a reference to 2016, between 120 and 180 million Euros, a marked increase compared to the year 2014 (80–155 million Euros) and 2015 itself (100–148 million Euros).
The analysis conducted by LUISS’ X.ite Center on the indirect economic impact of the IBIs on the city of Rome focused on the event effect on the economy of its host city. Specifically, based on the attendance and number of unique viewers of the IBIs, the impact of the event was considered in terms of increase in consumption, due to the occurrence of the event, for significant expenditure items such as transport, housing, catering, purchasing goods in shops as well as cultural and entertainment services. On the basis of the data provided from a market survey on international tourism conducted by the Bank of Italy and adding up the costs in each of these categories, the indirect economic impact of IBIs has been estimated at € 67,258,196.
Finally, a further analysis by the X.ite Center on the reputational impact of the IBIs has placed special attention on the amount of conversations and the sentiment among social media users and tennis websites regarding the IBIs. In this regard, a breakdown was made for posts, comments and news on Twitter, Instagram, on the IBIs official Facebook page and on various tennis-related sites. Among the main results, it must be noted the good number of tweets pertaining to the 2015 edition of the event, rising to over 95,000 items, which is lower than that of the main benchmark tournament, namely the Madrid Mutua Open (about 111,000 tweets) but intended to grow to a significant extent by looking at the 2016 edition.
The sentiment analysis also revealed that over 73% of users’ comments on social media are positive, compared to about 8% of negative comments and about 20% of neutral comments. Ultimately, the project highlights the importance of an increasingly open-minded look at the interaction dynamics of both old and newer audiences of the Italian Open, by integrating conventional performances and unconventional strategies.