...the IIHF men’s world hockey championship is bringing lots of business to Halifax.
"It’s an incredible event for downtown Halifax," Paul MacKinnon, executive director of the Downtown Halifax Business Commission, said Tuesday in an interview.
Mr. MacKinnon said the 12-day tournament, which began May 2, has a broader reach than many other events that come to the city. He noted that many hockey fans have bought ticket packages for multiple-game days that are keeping them downtown for longer than usual.
Although he had no definitive figures, he said the $23 million in direct economic benefits and another $7 million in related activities cited by Scott Ferguson, executive vice-president of local tournament host Trade Centre Ltd., seemed plausible.
"The hotels are full," Mr. MacKinnon said. "Typically, May is pretty good, but business is up from a typical May."
I hold them suspect because numbers are usually just pulled out of somebody's ass, and then repeated as gospel truth. Economic impact studies get into impossible issues--- if 40,000 locals went to the Rolling Stones concert, isn't the 200 bucks or so each they spent on tix, cab fare, drinks, etc., $200 they aren't spending somewhere else? Most people have a entertainment budget, so they spend $200 for the concert, downtown businesses get a boost on that day, but they do less in sales on other days. Or, bars in Sackville (or wherever) do less in business on other days. Maybe people are borrowing to go the show, or maybe they work longer hours to pay for it, but lets not pretend that you can parse all this foggy calculus and put an exact figure on increased economic activity. You can't.
That said, in this particular case, it's obvious that indeed there are lots of tourists in town for the tourney and they're spending lots of money that wouldn't have otherwise be spent here. Halifax fit into a nice niche here, that other towns didn't pursue.
All of which raises the question: why didn't other cities pursue the tournament? It cost us taxpayers $2 million-- $1 million from provincial coffers, $1 million from HRM-- to host the tournament (that's over and above the usual subsidies for Trade Centre Limited). Was that too rich for other cities?