Economic impact of Games 'significant'

By Geoff Lee

March 31, 2016 6:00 AM

Shirley Mckenzie from Team Woodland buys a drink from Booster Juice at the Servus Sports Centre Tuesday night. The economic impact of the games will be significant says the Lloydminster Economic Development Corporation.

Apples and oranges come to mind when it comes to comparing the potential economic impact on Lloydminster of this week’s Saskatchewan First Nations Winter Games and the upcoming RBC Cup in May.
Those are the words used by Lloydminster Economic Development Corporation CEO Ward Read as the games come to the end Friday and the focus switches to the RBC Cup.
“The two events are quite a bit different in nature with the scope and scale of the athletes,” said Read, who noted many athletes are being housed and fed at Onion Lake.
“So it would be kind of an apple and oranges comparison.”
The corporation will conduct a formal economic impact analysis of the RBC Cup using the Sport Tourism Economic Assessment model of the Canadian Sport Tourism Alliance.
“It’s generally viewed as the best way to go about that,” said Read.
“We’ll be using that system which means some estimate of attendance, out of town attendance, visitor expenditures and the actual operation.”
No such study is being conducted on the winter games, but Read said the impact will be pretty significant. 
“It will feel even more so right now when things have been much slower than if these games happened two years ago” he said.
“So we will feel that bonus impact more than in the past.”
With more than 3,500 athletes coaches, chaperones and spectators taking part from 13 regional First Nations teams or tribal councils in Saskatchewan, Read said those are new dollars being infused into the community.
“Those dollars will cycle through and be a very nice injection for our economy,” he said.
The RBC Cup will be contested by just five teams including the hometown Bobcats with out of town players, spectators and officials booking hotel rooms and buying meals in town.
With TSN covering the championship on national TV, the market reach of the RBC Cup will generate national exposure for Lloydminster and the Bobcats.
“The brand of Hockey Canada and RBC does sort of raise the profile of the event and will make for a fair bit of exposure through media that the First Nations games may not reach” said Read.
On the other hand, Read said with so many First Nations people in the city this week, there will be a lot more direct “participant experiences” to be shared from our area that they will carry back home.
“It will be a different type of reach, but both will be a pretty strong perspective,” said Read about the impact for Lloydminster.
The winter games also brings a First Nations’ cultural experience to the city that RBC Cup can’t match.
“It’s always great to recognize and celebrate the culture of the First Nations games,” said Read.
He said it’s something our community has over time been growing somewhat stronger at doing.
Read points out Lloydminster was one of the first cities to fly the Treaty 6 flag outside of city hall. Lloydminster also hosts an economic indigenous summit every fall.
“The community support with Onion Lake hosting these games is another way to celebrate and support their culture” said Read.

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