Mission Winter Games Pump More Than $1.5 Million into Local Economy

Total Economic Impact Exceeds $3.2 Million – Organizers Extremely Pleased

They’re over. The athletes have gone home, the crowds have dispersed and the excitement and energy have dissipated. Summer is just around the corner, and Mission’s BC Winter Games have receded into just a pleasant memory.

Except for the dollars! The benefit to this community from hosting the Winter Games was substantial indeed.

“The Mission Winter Games was a very successful event”, says Games President Brian Antonson. “We are very pleased that they have contributed so much to the local economy”.

The District of Mission hosted the 2014 BC Winter Games from February 20 to 23, 2014. Eighteen separate sporting events were held in seven communities, and involved 1,847 athletes, coaches, officials and related parties. Host communities provided 1,745 local volunteers who assisted in administration of the Games. Numerous businesses and agencies in the community also donated in-kind support. Because the Games were open to the public and un-gated, an exact count of spectators was not possible. However, a peak attendance estimate puts the number at 3,215 visitors.

BC Winter Games 2014
BC Winter Games 2014

The majority of competitors (87%) stayed in Mission for the entire four-day duration of the Games. The average length of stay was 3.9 days. Obviously competitors from outside the Lower Mainland would spend more money per day than local people (accommodation, meals and transportation, among others), so it is interesting to look at the geographic distribution

  • 13% Fraser Valley
  • 25% Rest of Lower Mainland
  • 62% Rest of Province

The total spending by participants (athletes, coaches, officials and support staff) is estimated to be $102.96 per person, or $190,167 in total over the four days.

Volunteers, most of whom were local, also contributed substantially to the economic benefit, spending an average of $169.72 each, for a total of $294,939.

Last, but not least are the Games spectators, 85% of whom were in Mission at that time specifically because of the Games

  • 18% for 1 day
  • 23% for 2 days
  • 25% for 3 days
  • 34% for 4 days

Spectators spent an average of $232.04 each. Although the peak attendance was estimated to be 3,215 individuals, people often attended more than one event, and therefore could be counted more than once. The calculation is that any individual spectator attended an average of 1.3 events, and for that reason the total number of unique individual spectators was estimated to be approximately 2,473 (i.e., 3,215 / 1.3 = 2,473). Total spending by spectators is estimated to be $573,834.

Of equal interest is the geographic distribution of spectators, for the same reason as participants. (The further you are from home, the more money you are likely to spend.) Fewer than one third of the spectators were from the Fraser Valley (29%), with the remainder scattered around the province. Thus expenditures on accommodation, transportation and souvenirs were very strong.

The final component of direct spending relates to the BC Games Society and its budget. The total amount of this spending was approximately $664,000, with most of the money being funnelled locally. A breakdown of these expenditures is shown in Figure 4. Note that the highest four categories (administration, food services, sport and transportation) would all flow into the participating communities.

Based on the survey data collected for this event, the Mission 2014 BC Winter Games created direct economic impact in the area in excess of 1.5 million dollars. Just over one-half of this impact, was created by the spending of Games participants, while the remainder was contributed by Games Society organizers and related agencies.

The direct spending amount represents a decline of approximately 11% from the 2008 Kimberly/Cranbrook BC Games (the last Games subject to an economic impact analysis). Antonson is not disappointed. “We’re absolutely thrilled with this result, he says.   “Given the fact that many Games participants went back to their homes at night and didn’t spend accommodation and restaurant dollars here, to have a result that close to Kimberley-Cranbrook in 2008 is very impressive”.

Not included in these numbers is the legacy fund, a portion of any monies left over between the approved budget and actual. “We’re still waiting for the final financials to be completed and audited before we know what the “legacy” amount will be”, says Brian Antonson.

Would he do it again, or recommend the experience to other communities? “When the multiplier effect of dollars spent on the Games reaches $3.2 million, that’s very good news for our communities”, he says. “It provides a sound economic rationale for British Columbia cities to engage in the BC Games, quite apart from the tremendous community spirit that we see.  Mission has a collective community smile these days”!

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