Local amateur sporting events pump millions of dollars into their local economy every year, shows research released today by Brock’s Niagara Community Observatory.
The latest policy brief, “More than fun and games: sport’s contribution to Niagara’s economy and community wellbeing,” uses data from 73 sport clubs within the Niagara Region to show the economic impact of the events hosted by those clubs in 2009 was more than $7 million.
Yet the same study, written by Brock researchers Laura Cousens, Joanne MacLean and Martha Barnes, shows that these organizations often struggle for financial and institutional support.
“Community sport is about fun and games, but the huge economic impact that sport has on the Niagara area is frequently overlooked,” said David Siegel, Niagara Community Observatory director.
The clubs are run by thousands of volunteers who make contributions in coaching, officiating and administrative support. But they suffer from barriers such as chronic under-funding and the struggle for resources. The Niagara Sport Commission (NSC) was created to work with Niagara’s sporting community to create partnerships, committees, inter-locking boards and communication tools to help the groups collaborate.
The findings also show that sport is a recognized means of building children’s cognitive and social abilities. It enhances their academic achievement and teaches positive values and life skills.
The report was released Nov. 10 during a briefing and panel discussion at the MacBain Community Centre in Niagara Falls. Panellists included:
- Scott McRoberts, Niagara Sport Commission executive director
- Brian Hutchings, commissioner of corporate services, Niagara Region, and NSC advisory committee member
- Stephen Fischer, executive director, Welland International Flatwater Centre