When Skate Canada brings the world’s best figure skaters to Kelowna, the financial spin-off will amount to millions, say event organizers.
“We are anticipating 20,000 tickets sold in the region and a $5 million economic impact,” said Mark Halliday, the Chief Marketing Officer for Skate Canada, when he spoke Friday at a Kelowna Chamber of Commerce meeting.
The Skate Canada International event, which will debut at Prospera Place from Oct. 31 to Nov. 2, should also lead to further rewards due to its profile.
As top figure skaters are featured in head-to-head competition an international audience will be able to tune in to any number of broadcasters that carry the event and catch a glimpse of the Okanagan. That could amount to further tourism dollars.
If all goes well, the event will also showcase Kelowna’s hosting capabilities and that, in turn, could lead to further high profile events headed to the Okanagan.
The skating event has a value beyond dollars and cents, however, said Halliday. That is demonstrated when skaters take part in the communities they’re competing in.
“We have a great group of athletes who are good looking and well-spoken,” he said, adding that hospital visits are among the possible options for skater/community involvement.
The event is first to receive funding support from the City of Kelowna through its Strategic Development Fund, which was established, in part, to attract and secure large scale events that will enhance our community and create a dynamic environment.
Skate Canada International is the second competition in the annual ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating® series. The other events take place in the United States (Skate America), China (Cup of China), France (Trophée Eric Bompard), Russia (Rostelecom Cup) and Japan (NHK Trophy). Skaters are awarded points based on their placements in the series’ events. The top-six men and ladies and the top-six pair and ice dance teams qualify for the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final in December 2014.
Competitors for Skate Canada International, and all of the ISU Grand Prix events, will be announced following the ISU Grand Prix Commission meetings in June 2014.
Tickets are expected to be on sale in the spring of 2014. Additional information will be posted on www.skatecanada.ca as soon as it is available.