OTTAWA, ON: It has been nearly four months since Skate Canada hosted the 2013 ISU World Figure Skating Championships® from March 11-17, 2013 at the Budweiser Gardens and Western Fair Sport Centre in London, Ontario. The Canadian Sport Tourism Alliance (CSTA) conducted an economic impact analysis on the event and released its findings today.
With a number of sold-out sessions, the championships had a total attendance of 62,395, with 74% of the seats being occupied by out of town visitors. Through the use of an on-site survey, it was found that visitors had an average stay of six nights, with international visitors spent over $1,000/person and Canadian visitors spent just over $785. In total, the direct spending of visitors in London was in excess of $5 million during the week. The spending of spectators was combined with expenditures made by other visitors (participants, dignitaries, media members) as well as the spending made by Skate Canada to stage the event and capital spending on improvements to city infrastructure.
In total, $20.7 million was spent in London as a result of hosting the event which generated $42.6 million in economic activity throughout Ontario, of which $32.1 million was in London. The event supported 213 jobs in London paying $9.6 million in wages and salaries, with an additional 48 jobs and $3.0 million in wages being supported in the rest of the province. The net economic activity (GDP) supported by the event was $23.2 million, of which $17.2 million occurred in London.
“Skate Canada had a vision to deliver the world championships flawlessly from a technical standpoint, and to showcase the world-class facilities of London. With the collaboration of our partners at Tourism London and the City, we successfully extended the event out into the community with the creation of the Light Up London fan festival. From the opening reception where the Southern First Nations Secretariat performers and the London District Chiefs Council welcomed the world to their traditional lands to the closing gala on ice and celebration for the athletes, a new standard has been set for the world championships moving forward,” said Bill Boland, the Skate Canada Board member who chaired the Local Organizing Committee (LOC).
Over 21,000 fans participated in the free activities featured in the fan marketplacecalled Light Up London. It hosted the Canadian Tire Family Zone, Skate Canada House, and the Tree of Light that highlighted the city’s unique heritage and special bond with the sport of figure skating in a spectacular sound and light video production shown nightly on the side of the Budweiser Gardens.
“The community committed its talents and resources to ensure that the World’s in London reflected the essence of the Canadian experience-a warm, inviting and appreciative city that understood the value proposition this event presented and embraced it like no other,” said John Winston, General Manager, Tourism London.
“Through Light Up London, Skate Canada demonstrated that more can be done with the ISU World Figure Skating Championships than just what is happening inside the arena. Fans came by the thousands to watch and be inspired by the competition on big screens located outside and inside the tents, to see cultural performances by some of London’s talented artists, and to enjoy the excitement of the event outside the rink,” continued Boland.
London’s Budweiser Gardens was praised by the International Skating Union (ISU) for creating an intimate environment that saw world record performances by the athletes. Stakeholders also applauded the full engagement of the community who proudly showed Canada’s London at its very best.
The event was also a success around the world with over 550 television hours presented by international broadcasters that tallied over 165 million viewers, topping the previously reported high of approximately 160 million in 2010. Record numbers were recorded on Skate Canada’s event website with 702,429 hits recorded for the week-long event. Social media pages also logged significant traffic with the #FSWorlds13 hashtag trending on Canadian twitter feeds during the seven days.
“Skate Canada was able to deliver an event that was truly Canadian with an international flair. The event moved beyond the typical championships, generating an unprecedented level of energy and excitement in London inside and outside the Budweiser Gardens. We hope that everyone who experienced this event walked away with memories to last a lifetime,” said Leanna Caron, newly elected President of Skate Canada.
The legacy of the event will be felt in other ways as well. The significant funding contributions made by the Sport Canada Hosting Program and the Ontario Government Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport enabled Skate Canada to deliver this amazing event in London. As a result, a four-year legacy investment plan will inject over $4 million dollars into skating development in Ontario and across Canada.