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Keystone study shows massive economic impact

Visitors stream in to the Manitoba Summer Fair in July, helping to boost the local economic impact of both the Keystone Centre and Provincial Exhibition of Manitoba.

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Visitors stream in to the Manitoba Summer Fair in July, helping to boost the local economic impact of both the Keystone Centre and Provincial Exhibition of Manitoba.

Between Brandon Wheat Kings games, the Provincial Exhibition of Manitoba and major concerts, the Keystone Centre draws a lot of people in year after year.

But what is the economic impact of the facility on the city?

Two Brandon University professors, Doug Ramsey and Derrek Eberts, took on that question at the request of Keystone Centre general manager Neil Thomson and the board of directors.

What they found after working on the study for approximately six months was that the Keystone Centre generates at least $62 million for the local economy annually.

"I was pleasantly surprised how big a number it was," Thomson said. "I think it’s a very positive message, obviously. It just clearly demonstrates how important it is."

While the economic impacts of specific events have been conducted in recent years, no study of the financial impact of the facility on the city of Brandon had been undertaken. It was funded by a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council Grant, held by Brandon University.

Results were released yesterday.

According to Ramsey, who is also a Keystone board member, the $62-million total is based on spending only and included the direct spending multiplier used by Statistics Canada. When the data was applied to other spending multipliers, the impact ranged from $53.6 to $80.7 million.

The study used estimated visitor data from the three Provincial Exhibition fairs in 2012, Wheat Kings 2011-12 season, 56 Keystone Centre events in 2011-12 (including Manitoba Ag Days) and the Canadian National Arabian and Half Arabian Horse Show in 2013.

The study did not include all events, nor did it estimate the impact of recreational sporting events (i.e. ice hockey, figure skating, curling, indoor soccer) on the local economy.

"We did not include employment multipliers as we lacked the baseline data," Eberts said.

"Obviously, the impact would be much higher if this data could have been included."

Ramsey said it’s important to make this report publicly available so people understand the value of the facility.

"It’s easy to talk about leaky roofs and to criticize and complain about leaky roofs but it’s also important that we understand the value that that centre has on the city."

Thomson said he hopes the results of the study will help generate more support for the facility.

"I don’t want to treat the dollars going into the Keystone strictly as just tax dollars," he said. "We and the board of directors, treat it as investments into the facility, and when you make an investment into the facility, you expect some sort of return on that, so $62 million as an economic impact is a substantial return on investment."

The full report is available at keystonecentre.com/about.

» jaustin@brandonsun.com

Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition January 30, 2014

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Between Brandon Wheat Kings games, the Provincial Exhibition of Manitoba and major concerts, the Keystone Centre draws a lot of people in year after year.

But what is the economic impact of the facility on the city?

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Between Brandon Wheat Kings games, the Provincial Exhibition of Manitoba and major concerts, the Keystone Centre draws a lot of people in year after year.

But what is the economic impact of the facility on the city?

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