Extreme sports are on the upward swing in Edmonton, however, they haven’t reached the lofty goals that were set ahead of 2016.
A report released Thursday and headed to a city council committee next week confirms Hurricane Sports, the organizer of Festival International des Sports Extrêmes (FISE), has offered a contract extension to the city.
Attendance at the three-day event in Louise McKinney Park in July was 25,000. That’s on par with the previous two years when it was held in Hawrelak Park. However, poor weather over the first two days kept the numbers down, the report said.
FISE estimated the economic impact of $4.2 million was largely due to an increase of athletes and out-of-town spectators. That’s up from $3.1 million the year before.
“Overall, attendance in the first three years of Edmonton hosting this event has not reached the estimates provided to city council in 2015 when this event was first presented to council and funding was approved,” the report said.
The city was in for $1.2 million this year, while Edmonton Tourism added another $250,000. City council will have to decide during this fall’s budget deliberations if it wants to extend the contract.
Edmonton has first right of refusal for future events.
“The deadline to exercise this right has passed, however, Hurricane Sports has verbally agreed to honour the provision, pending a decision by city council,” the report said.
The event was moved closer to downtown this year, and it paid off. It was seen as having a “more intimate feeling” with “better connectivity” on public access.
The event was free to spectators, and saw a boost in attendance on the Sunday when the weather improved. Competition was in four disciplines: BMX Freestyle, BMX Flatland, skateboard and scooter.