The impact from the Memorial Cup is being felt all around Regina, including a bone-crunching hit to the organizer’s wallets.
“3,730 people short of a sellout, we’ll lose a million dollars on that event,” Regina Pats host committee chair Shaun Semple said of the May 17th opening ceremonies and Eagles concert. “We’ll lose more than a million dollars on this event. That was always part of the plan, because we always wanted to bring the 100th home here.”
The group paid $3.65 million to host the event.
Still, tourism groups said the province will reap the benefits of hosting the prestigious tournament.
“That will result in an $11 million economic spin-off for Regina, $15 million as a whole for the province,” economic development Regina VP David Froh said. “You’re going to see people spending in retail, people staying in hotels, and people, of course, enjoying the convention and hockey assets. They’re going to leave, ideally, with a positive impression of our city and come back.”
“From a branding and marketing perspective, it’s worth its weight in gold.”
This comes just weeks after the Brier brought a projected $11 million to the province. With any luck, Froh said this will help the city bring in more events down the line. 19 concerts have been scheduled for the Memorial Cup’s ten-day run.
But between hotels, restaurants, and shopping, local businesses are cashing in now.
In the Pats store, merchandise is flying off the shelves faster than staff can stock it. The Acadie-Bathurst Titan’s Memorial Cup t-shirts sold out in ten seconds, and fans have already purchased three seasons worth of pucks. A percentage of sales on Memorial Cup gear will be paid back to the CHL, but a staff member said it’s still a big boost.
Just down the street, the RCMP Heritage Centre has also seen a massive bump in traffic. Attendance numbers weren’t immediately available, but staff said there’s been an unusual influx of hockey fans.
“Lots of jerseys and t-shirts and team colours. We were actually just talking to some people here for Memorial Cup from Swift Current,” director of marketing Jessica Tiefenbach said. “This morning, there was some strong representation for the Hamilton Bulldogs here.”
No games have sold out yet, but attendance has increased leading up to the May 23 battle between the hosting Pats and WHL Champion Swift Current Broncos.
More than 4,000 people are expected to travel to the Queen City by the time junior hockey’s ultimate prize is handed out on May 27.