New study finds Touchdown Atlantic generated $12.7 million in economic impact to Nova Scotia

Photo courtesy: Ted Pritchard/ All rights reserved.

The Canadian Football League’s Touchdown Atlantic game in Wolfville, Nova Scotia this past July generated more than $12.7 million in economic impact for the province, a new study conducted by Sports Tourism Canada claims.

The study, which was commissioned by the CFL based on 664 responses to a post-game survey, calculated the combined spending of spectators, staff, and participants surrounding the event and the total operational expenditure of the league itself. It found that just over $9.1 million in direct expenditures were made due to the event, supporting $3.8 million in wages and salaries. That led to a total economic impact of $12.7 million, with $11.8 million coming in the Halifax area alone.

“It was incredible to see fans across the country and local East Coast communities embrace this year’s Touchdown Atlantic. Despite some lingering challenges from COVID-19, we are proud to have helped bring $12.7 million to the region and local businesses,” CFL commissioner Randy Ambrosie said in a statement.

“In hearing the cheers of a sold-out stadium, meeting so many excited fans and families throughout our celebrations, and seeing Toronto and Saskatchewan players’ impacts in the community, we firmly believe that the East Coast is ready to be home to a tenth CFL franchise.”

10,886 fans were on hand at Acadia University’s Raymond Field on July 16 to watch the Toronto Argonauts defeat the Saskatchewan Roughriders 30-24 in Wolfville. The event also included three days of public entertainment in downtown Halifax, marking the first CFL regular-season game ever played in Nova Scotia.

The study found that the average spectator spent $2,315.50 to attend the game, helping to contribute $6.2 million to the local GDP. The CFL reports that Touchdown Atlantic hosted 7,879 out-of-town visitors, though 57 percent of survey respondents marked their place of residence as within Nova Scotia, with 30.1 percent hailing from the Greater Halifax Area and 9.6 percent being locally based in Wolfville.

For visitors, 67.6 percent included the game as part of an extended vacation with 90.3 percent saying it was very likely they would visit Halifax again. 82.5 percent of respondents said they would be very likely to attend another Touchdown Atlantic game in the future.

The CFL remains committed to attempting some form of Atlantic Canadian expansion in the near future but continues to face daunting challenges despite their one-off event’s impressive financial numbers.

The ownership group of the proposed Atlantic Schooners chose not to participate in this year’s Touchdown Atlantic due to doubts around their ability to launch a franchise in the near future and there remains little political appetite to build an acceptable CFL stadium in Halifax.