FINA Impact Expected Soon

Windsor’s mayor, Drew Dilkens, is expected to shortly release the results of an economic impact study to decide the value of, what a swimming reporter termed, a minor FINA swimming event last December in Windsor.

The numbers, it can be expected, will be very high, well out-pacing the Memorial Cup, which continues at the east end arena. On April 25, AM800 reporter Teresinha Medeiros quoted Dilkens claiming the, “… numbers are right in line or a bit better than I thought they were going to be.”

It could be Dilkens is pinning his hopes that the study will prove an earlier estimate, broadcast on CBC December 12, 2012. It quoted Alfie Morgan, a University of Windsor business professor, saying, “… the event has the potential to generate more than $25 million in short-term economic gains.”

The broadcaster added a comment from former mayor Eddie Francis who claimed, “… more than 2,500 visitors, including 700 athletes, will converge in Windsor.”

Reports suggest about 2,500 will be in town for the Memorial Cup. But, this is where the numbers separate quite distinctively.

CBC reported on May 15 that, “… more than 58,000 fans attended games at last year’s tournament in Red Deer, Alberta.”

On December 15 last year, the Windsor Star reported the attendance at Windsor’s FINA event was 25,000. The paper did not say how many of these were paying spectators.

As many as 5,000 students were bused in and given free admission. The minimum price for a ticket at FINA was ten dollars. At the Memorial Cup it’s $75.

Most of the money spent during FINA was by city hall (taxpayers). Windsor paid, airfare, ground transportation, hotel, and dining costs for FINA visitors. Economic benefits only accrue from new money; money which enters the community from elsewhere.

The Memorial Cup will make, as tourism bureau executive Gordon Orr made clear, in a quote on CTV News on May 16, “… a huge injection of new dollars, not recycled dollars, new dollars into the community.”

Estimates have the Memorial Cup generating up to $17 million in economic activity; about $6,800 per visitor. It might be high, though, as the first two games were not sellouts.

Nonetheless, it will be very interesting to see what the city comes up with for FINA.

If the politicians stick with the Alfie Morgan estimate, it will raise many questions. If it decides to equal the Memorial Cup, a logical impossibility, the study will also be suspect.

But, no matter what the FINA economic study says, it won’t really matter much.

Dilkens was also quoted in the FINA story saying, “… even if we inspire one person to get in the water and train then it’s worth it.”

Marijke Taks, a University of Windsor sports management professor, offered a different view. In the CBC report of 2012 she said, “… in the grand scheme of things, on an annual basis, it’s not really meaningful.”

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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. Email Robert Tuomi