Last summer’s Ironman 70.3 and full Ironman events made brought big bucks Huntsville, but the Town of Huntsville’s pocketbook didn’t get the same treatment.
The two athletic events brought in more than $2 million towards Huntsville’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), according to economic models created by the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport’s TREIM (Tourism Regional Economic Impact Model) program.
The combined events generated $250,930 in tax revenues for the federal government, $201,151 for the provincial government and $2,409 for Huntsville. General Manager for the Ironman Events, Myke Malone, said the revenues collected by the town are “a little low” but attributed it to the use of a more conservative assessment model.
“We could have used various assessment tools, but the most respected one – the one that we used – is the TREIM model,” Malone said. “It’s the most conservative in its numbers.”
While the initial tax revenues might seem low, the economic impact for businesses and services were huge with the more than 3,800 visitors and athlete’s dropping a whopping $1,425,502 across Huntsville’s various businesses and services during the full Ironman. An additional $643,352 in GDP was also generated during the 70.3 Ironman.
The Town of Huntsville heard a full report on the economic impact of the two events at a general committee meeting held on Nov. 25. During the overview, the Town reported an initial deficit of $94, 421.83 incurred from hosting the event. That number jumped to $99, 421.83 when it was revealed that an additional $5,000 of sponsorship money would not be coming in. Malone said that number is less of a deficit than an investment,
“The deficit is the Town’s investment… The [$94,421.83] is the cost to the Town to host the event, which in turn generated a $2 million economic impact for the community,” Malone said. He added that while not on the books yet, the Ironman already has an additional $30,000 in reserve sponsorships set aside for next year’s event.
Huntsville has committed to hosting the triathlon events for the next two years and Malone says the goal is to be revenue neutral by the end of the two years, so that there will have been no permanent cost to the taxpayer at the end of the three year term.
“In 2016 we’re anticipating a surplus that will go against [this year’s] deficit,” Malone said. “The three-year plan is that the combined outcome will be revenue neutral at no cost to the tax payers. We have to make $100,000 over the next two years to become revenue neutral.”
Next year’s events will take place on July 10 and Aug. 28.