The economic impact of spectator sports and events
By ATB Economics 15 May 2020 1 min read
It’s not as up-to-date as we’d like, but a new report from Statistics Canada on the combined revenue of spectator sports, event promoters, agents/managers, and independent artists in 2018 gives us a good sense of the economic contribution of this segment of the economy and what’s at stake in light of the pandemic.*
The combined revenue of these industries in Alberta was $1.2 billion in 2018. This works out to just over 12 per cent of the Canadian total of $9.7 billion.
About 95 per cent of the revenue went to pay operating expenses, including salaries and wages of $475 million.
Spectator sports in Alberta generated $538 million in revenue or about 45 per cent of the total. Event promoters accounted for 43 per cent ($518 million), independent artists for 9 per cent ($110 million) and agents/managers for 3 per cent ($37 million).
Spectator sport revenue was down in Alberta in 2018 compared to 2017 by 11 per cent while revenue increased in the other categories. The decline in spectator sport revenue is largely due to the fact that the Calgary Flames and Edmonton Oilers made the playoffs in 2017 but not in 2018.
At the national level, spectator sport revenue fell by $103 million (3 per cent). Statistics Canada notes that the “decline reflects in part a decrease in admissions to live events as only two Canadian National Hockey League teams made the Stanley Cup playoffs in 2018, compared with five the previous year.”
Spectator sports and the promoters of large events like rock concerts are wrestling with how to ensure the health of their workers and fans in the wake of COVID-19. It’s also unclear when these types of events will start up again and if attendance will be the same as it was before.
*These industries are part of the broader “arts, entertainment and recreation” sector and include North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) codes 7112 (spectator sports), 7113 (promoters/presenters of performing arts, sports and similar events), 7114 (agents and managers for artists, athletes, entertainers and other public figures) and 7115 (Independent artists, writers and performers). The data exclude performing arts companies and independent musical artists (NAICS code 7111). They also exclude movie theatres (which are part of the information and cultural industries sector).