For the first time in its seven-year history, the North American Spartan Championship was held outside of the United States in 2022. The 2022 championship took place in Kelowna, BC, at Big White Mountain during the weekend of August 27-28. The event included a Super 10K, an Ultra 50K, and the Spartan Beast, which runs for 21 kilometres and consists of 30 obstacles with elite athletes competing for a share of $62,000 in total prize money.

Sport Tourism Canada (STC) studied the economic activity generated by the North American Spartan Championship. The study was commissioned by Tourism Kelowna, which was involved in both securing and sponsoring this exciting event. Completing the survey was promoted during the event by providing a QR code linked to an online version of the survey to participants and spectators. As well, Spartan Race organizers distributed the survey post-event via email to all registered participants.

Using the data collected, the STC team analyzed the visitor information gathered through the survey responses. The combined spending from out-of-town visitors, participants, media, and VIPs was then added to the capital and event operational expenditures to produce an overall determination of the expenditures associated with the event. When all of this data and information was combined, STC used the STEAMPRO economic impact assessment model to produce the detailed report with the economic impact assessment in terms of total output, GDP, wages and salaries, employment and taxes.   

The report outlines that Kelowna’s economy benefited from just over $2.2 million in economic activity as a result of the successful hosting of the Spartan North American Championship Weekend. The study also indicated just over $2.4 million in economic impact for the province of British Columbia. 

Tourism Kelowna was pleased to support the Spartan Race coming to the Kelowna area for the first time,” said Lisanne Ballantyne, President & CEO of Tourism Kelowna. “Events such as the Spartan Race bring visitors, energy, and new spending to our destination in the short-term, and they also provide long-term benefits. These events introduce new visitors to our destination who often plan return trips, and can inspire spectators to take up a new sport or hobby. Tourism Kelowna’s major event strategy targets events that create impressive economic impact from visitors like those demonstrated in Sport Tourism Canada’s report, and they also create a stronger quality of life for residents.”

“We were pleased to work with Tourism Kelowna on this report,” said Derek Mager, Sport Tourism Canada’s Economic Impact Consultant. “It was a new type of event for the region, and it is evident that the economic activity was significant in terms of contribution in GDP to the Canadian economy through direct and spin-off impacts.”

Summary of Key Findings:  

  • $1.7 million of initial expenditures 
  • $2.4 million of overall economic activity in the province 
  • $1.3 million of visitor spending 
  • 2,417 out-of-town visitors to Kelowna
  • $634,948 wages and salaries supported locally 
  • 14.5 local jobs in Kelowna supported by the event 
  • $1.2 million boost to provincial GDP 
  • $515,750 taxes supported across Canada  

The event drew over 2,400 visitors. Nearly 20% of the participants and visitors came from the USA, with residents of BC making up another 28% of attendees. All other parts of Canada were represented, with Alberta residents leading the way at 18.7%. The age range was predominantly in the 25-34 age category, followed by those aged 35-44. The average number of supporters who accompanied participants was 3.1, with the average nights stayed in the Kelowna area of 3.8.

Many of the people surveyed (73%) indicated they used this event as a vacation and extended their stay in the area. When asked if they would visit the area again, the majority of responses indicated it was either somewhat or very likely they would do so. Activities that visitors participated in while in the area included dining at local restaurants, visiting beaches and parks, as well as hiking and visits to wineries and sampling craft beers and ciders.

Read the Full Report.

About STEAMPRO    

This economic impact model was developed by STC in partnership with the Canadian Tourism Research Institute (CTRI) at The Conference Board of Canada. The CTRI serves the travel and tourism industry in providing sound economic forecasts and models with timely and insightful interpretation of data specifically relevant to travel. The model makes use of the most current and detailed input-output tables and multipliers available from Statistics Canada and leverages the credibility and robustness of sector-specific tax data available from Statistics Canada’s Government Revenues Attributable to Tourism (GRAT) report.   

The STEAMPRO model has been used since 2002 on over 300 EI assessments from small-town events to major multi-sport and international games and contains 100% Canadian data to directly reflect what took place at the specific event in the specific Canadian host community. It is considered the ‘gold standard’ in the field of economic impact assessment, providing credible and Canadian economic impact results.  

About Sport Tourism Canada (STC)  

Sport Tourism Canada is a non-governmental, member-based, capacity-building organization that promotes sport tourism as a grassroots economic development initiative at the community level. STC services over 500 members across Canada, including 130 municipalities, 300 national and provincial sport, multi-sport and major games organizations and a variety of other sport and tourism industry partners. Sport tourism is the fastest-growing tourism industry sector in Canada, with over $7.4 billion in annual spending by domestic and international visitors and is central to local and regional economic recovery from COVID-19.  

Media Inquiries  

Shereen Abbas
Communication & Travel Media
Tourism Kelowna
(250) 861-1515 ext. 209

Derek Mager
Economic Impact Consultant
Sport Tourism Canada
(604) 787-3605