FINA Event Promises Lack Of Spectators


Header-image-TuomiBy Robert Tuomi

(WINDSOR, ON) – Mounting evidence is suggesting that taxpayers should give little to no credence to the myth of literally billions of television viewers standing by to watch the FINA short swimming competition set for Windsor in December of the new year.

The claim was made by ineffective councillor, and now interim mayor, Drew Dilkens. As is usual, he lathered the pretence on thick, but failed to provide any documented evidence to support his dubious claim.

This suggests, at least to those following his misadventure, it was all just a vain attempt by him to justify spending some $21 million to host the costly event.

It is hard to understand how he even got involved with this, considering it will be competing with a growing list of other prestigious international swimming meets, on the same weekend, in other parts of the globe. If nothing else, it questions the big assertion of the failed former city mayor Eddie Francis, reported by the local paper on December 11, 2012, of the FINA shorts putting, “… Windsor on the global sporting event map.”

With such a crowded map, it could be quite the challenge for Windsor to be noticed.

Some of the current events scheduled for the very same weekend include the Speedo Winter Junior Nationals. It is so big, it will be held concurrently in both Texas and Ohio.

Others include the Jaguar Aquatics Winter Invitational, at the historic Indiana University Natatorium, the International Christmas Cup in Greece, and the famed Duel in the Pool in Glasgow.

EventScotland talks of the Duel as the, “… Ryder Cup of the swimming world – this event provides spectators with the opportunity to see the best swimmers in the States and Europe go head-to-head.”

With the best from America and Europe in Scotland, from December 10 to 11, 2016, it can easily be assumed this will severely reduce the calibre of swimmers available to compete in Windsor. Without question the Duel, and the many other events happening that weekend, will surely decimate the interested audience in Windsor.

There are also doubts that a full-house of spectators will be on hand at the east end arena. The CBC reported December 11, 2012, about it attracting only, “… approximately 2,500 visitors, including more than 700 athletes, from around the world.”

This is half the capacity of the arena’s main bowl which will hold an expensive temporary pool.

Windsor could have avoided this cost if Dilkens was a better planner. He was in charge of building the downtown natatorium but made it too small for even a minor swim event; it doesn’t have enough spectator seating and is lacking a warm-up pool.

These are both realities Dilkens should have checked into before spending some $80 million on what is clearly a white elephant. Now, hard-pressed taxpayers are on the hook for additional millions of their money to stage a minor shorts event on a rather busy swimming weekend.

There’s more.

Supporting the assumption the arena could be half empty is the lack of spectators who attended this year’s Duel in the Pool, a few weeks ago in Indianapolis. It is one of the few swimming events to merit coverage by a US television network, albeit a week after it happened.

Viewers watching NBC’s package can attest to seeing a number of empty seats. The same thing happened in 2014 when the FINA event was held in Doha and its organizers, as Swim Vortex reported, bussed in school children to fill in the blanks.

Windsor students might get lucky and get a day off to sit in the arena.

Robert Tuomi can be heard at 8:30 pm every Monday evening and noon every Wednesday co-hosting Talkin’ ‘Bout Windsor on CJAM 99.1 FM. Listen on demand to previous episodes or catch the discussion live and join in. Talkin’ ‘Bout Windsor is broadcast every Monday and Wednesday to the Windsor and Detroit listening area and streamed online at CJAM.

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About the Author

Robert Tuomi

After initially succeeding as a broadcast journalist and achieving senior level assignments, Robert branched out into marketing communications. As a senior executive, primarily in the high-tech industry, Robert created award-winning and comprehensive, multi-faceted initiatives to enhance sales and expand market awareness for some of the largest companies in their fields.

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3 Comments on "FINA Event Promises Lack Of Spectators"

  1. Now if Windsor had an AG he would have pointed out that the city would not be getting the value of their tax dollars. Eddie Francis and ineffective Drew Dilkens voted to have our AG ousted from his job for the city of Windsor so they could pass these ridiculous swim meets. The city councillors that promised to get the AG back and then backed out of their promise, we the taxpayers should remember that in the next city election. We have the highest unemployment in Canada at 10% and all our ineffective mayor and city council can think of is this costly FINA meet, which by the way will cost the city of Windsor taxpayers millions of dollars. The tax dollars that are being spent on the FINA games would be better spent on our roads.

  2. Hey Robert,

    I love and appreciate your passion for the city of Windsor, and agree that these meets often become bigger financial burdens than they’re worth, especially when hosted in the developed world.

    I did, however, want to clarify your paragraphs about competing events. There will be no Duel in the Pool in 2016 (they’re held in odd-numbered years, specifically so as not to overlap with SC Worlds); and the other meets you cited – the Jaguar Winter Invitational and the International Christmas Cup – are basically club meets designed mainly for local high school aged swimmers. None of those three meets will detract any audience from the SC Worlds.

    Anyway – keep up the fight. There’s a lot of bloating in the budgets of hosting Olympic sports that they can’t afford. Feel free to email me if you ever want to run things like the above past me before publishing!

    Best,
    Braden Keith
    Editor-in-chief
    SwimSwam.com

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