In numbers: Smyle celebrates Scotland in Ryder Cup opening ceremony

Amy MacDonald on stage at Ryder Cup opening ceremony
Amy MacDonald on stage at Ryder Cup opening ceremony

More than 30,000 spectators turned out to watch the opening ceremony of this year's Ryder Cup at Gleneagles in Scotland yesterday (25 September).

The event, produced by agency Smyle, featured a wealth of Scottish talent including representatives from Scottish Opera, who performed a rendition of Robert Burns’ My Love is Like a Red, Red Rose, singer-songwriter Amy MacDonald, the Vale of Atholl Pipe Band and a Scottish-themed rock group called Red Hot Chilli Pipers, who performed Journey’s Don’t Stop Believing

As part of the opening ceremony for the 40th Ryder Cup, members and captains from US and European teams, along with their wives and partners, were welcomed on stage alongside officials from the Tour and the PGA, the Junior Ryder Cup teams and Scottish medal winners from this year’s Commonwealth Games, which took place in Glasgow. 

First Minister of Scotland Alex Salmond was also welcomed on stage and delivered his first speech to the audience since the results of the Scottish independence referendum. 

Ahead of the event, show producer Andrew Dawson-Wills told Event one of the biggest challenges in producing the event has been the protocol involved with the golfing tournament's various stakeholders. "We have to take a diplomatic approach to the event. The stakeholders involved in the tournament, including brand sponsors, the PGA and the Tour, all have different objectives and that has required a lot of juggling. But our overall aim has been for Smyle to deliver a great experience."

Smyle produced the opening and closing ceremonies for the 2010 Ryder Cup, which took place at Celtic Manor Resort in Wales. Dawson-Wills explained that as a result of its previous projects, a higher level of work was expected of Smyle. "Because we had worked on the 2010 Ryder Cup, our client was expecting a slicker event, and we had to ensure we achieved a higher level of delivery as a result."

Suppliers to the event included Storm, which supplied lighting, Aggreko, which supplied generators and System Sound.

The event in numbers:

  • Smyle enlisted 50 members of staff to work on the event
  • The event was watched by more than 30,000 spectators at Gleneagles, as well as 1,500 seated VIPs and an international TV audience of 500 million
  • 100 officials of the PGA and the Tour were welcomed on stage
  • Two stages have been built for the ceremonies, with the stage for the opening ceremony measuring 25 metres wide. 
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