- Economic Impact: Sport Tourism Canada reveals Touchdown Atlantic 2023 generated $10 million in overall economic activity.
- Local Support: Over 72.7% of attendees were from Halifax or the East Coast, a rise from 63.3% in 2022.
- Fan Sentiment: 85.2% of survey respondents express support for a tenth CFL franchise based in Halifax.
The 2023 edition of Touchdown Atlantic wrapped up not just with an exciting victory for the Toronto Argonauts but also with substantial economic gains for the city of Halifax and the province of Nova Scotia. According to an independent study conducted by Sport Tourism Canada, the event drove over $10 million in economic activity, including more than $6.8 million locally in Halifax and over $7.3 million at the provincial level.
During the event, Huskies Stadium at Saint Mary’s University was packed with a sold-out crowd of 11,555 fans. These were not just locals but passionate CFL fans from all over Canada. The Toronto Argonauts clinched a 31-13 win against the Saskatchewan Roughriders, adding another layer of excitement to the proceedings.
Local Engagement and Economic Metrics
Sheena McCrate, CEO of Sport Tourism Canada, lauded the event’s success, stating, “CFL football has again shown it is capable of driving tourism and impacting the economy on local, provincial, and national levels.” Interestingly, this year saw an increase in local attendance, with 72.7% hailing from Halifax or other parts of the East Coast. This rise in local attendance contributed to a smaller economic footprint in terms of travel, food, and accommodations but reflected strong local support.
Extended Stays and Fan Sentiment
Even though fewer out-of-town visitors attended, 51.6% of those who did chose to extend their stays, averaging 4.3 days for an extended Atlantic Canadian vacation. Additionally, the event saw strong fan support for establishing a new CFL franchise in Halifax. An impressive 85.2% of survey respondents backed the idea, with most expressing interest in purchasing season tickets and attending 6-10 games annually.
Lasting Legacies and Future Prospects
CFL Commissioner Randy Ambrosie expressed gratitude towards the fans and emphasized the event’s positive impact across communities and businesses in the region. Beyond the immediate economic benefits, the event will leave a lasting impact on Saint Mary’s University, thanks to $10,600 in machinery and gym equipment donated as part of the event’s legacy.
The sentiment surrounding Touchdown Atlantic 2023 was overwhelmingly positive, encapsulated by Robert Summerby-Murray, President and Vice-Chancellor of Saint Mary’s University, who described the atmosphere as one of “celebration and pride.”
Touchdown Atlantic 2023 may have concluded, but its legacy, both economic and social, promises to continue enriching Halifax and the greater Atlantic Canadian community for years to come.
The full report is available here on the Sport Tourism Canada website.
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