There’s a lot at stake for Hamilton, Milton, Niagara and surrounding municipalities.
“Our goal is not only to deliver the best Pan Am/Parapan Am Games ever held, but to create real lasting economic social and sport legacies,” said Saad Rafi, CEO of the Games.
So that’s the hype.
Now for the wet towel: large international game events have had a generally dismal record of fulfilling such optimistic expectations. Toss in the fact Hamilton is on the periphery of the Toronto Pan Am epicentre and the outlook dims even more.
On Thursday, July 3, the Vancouver Olympic Committee finally closed the books with a break-even position at $1.9 billion for revenues and expenses. That does not include, of course, capital expenditure.
Then there’s the issue of an OGI-UBC report last October that found the Vancouver Olympics did not, in fact, have a “marginal economic impact” on the city although it did provide a worthwhile investment in infrastructure in the two host cities.
So what’s the real potential economic impact here for Pan Am?
In Hamilton, Tim Hortons Field (formerly Ivor Wynne Stadium) — final pricetag capped at $145 million — will play host to 16 days of 32 soccer games including the finals. That counts for one-third of all ticket sales.
One of Toronto 2015′s big goals is to attract a quarter of a million tourists to the region. If you apply that one-third formula, it would be fair to say Hamilton could see about 80,000 people stop in to see the city over the two-week soccer fest. Compared to the 24,000 visitors to Tourism Hamilton’s centre in all of 2013, it’s not a number to be sneezed at.
On top of that, McMaster and Mohawk could also play host to all the soccer athletes and their entourages, infusing our local institutions with cash in their off-season and local restaurants with hungry people.
Still, even though tourism in host cities is touted as beneficiary of big game events, there is little evidence to back that up. (Continued: Hamilton Business)