Edmonton Indy loses a whopping $5.3 million
Published Thursday, January 22, 2009 5:23PM MST
The 2008 Edmonton Indy lost a total of $5.3 million, and now the city is left to pay for the loss, which is not sitting well with some Edmontonians.
"I don't think that taxpayers should pay for a sporting event that is of limited interest," said Dan Preece.
And the Canadian Taxpayers Federation agrees.
"We're talking about a car race, and we're spending millions of dollars on it?" said Scott Hennig with the Canadian Taxpayers Federation. "I mean this is insanity."
The Edmonton Northlands, the event operator, claims this is a small price to pay, considering that they estimated $80 million in economic benefit from the finances of restaurants and hotels.
"They're essentially full to the brim during the week leading up to and during Indy," said Brian Leadbetter with Northlands.
Northlands said the $80 million figure was put together by an independent consultant using proper accounting and it's a real solid number.
"All very solid, all based on the Alberta finance model," Leadbetter said.
One economist CTV News spoke with, doubts that the figure is completely accurate.
"They're basically numbers they're pulling out of thin air," said Brad Humphreys, who studies the economic impacts of sporting events.
Humphreys suggested local attendees would have spent their money elsewhere, if there wouldn't have been a race.
"It's very doubtful that this event had any tangible economic impact on Edmonton's economy," said Humphreys.
And despite the $5.3 million loss, Mayor Stephen Mandel said it was a good investment.
"When you have $350 million potential houses looking at the city of Edmonton, its a great advantage for the city and an awful lot of potential for publicity that we couldn't buy from anywhere near that," said Mandel.
The mayor expects the race's finances to turn around in coming years but the city has set aside $1.5 million in case the race ends up running on empty again.
With files from Bill Fortier