(October 1, 2015 – Oakville, Ont.) – In July of 2015, when the Mackenzie Tour –  PGA TOUR Canada played the Staal Foundation Open presented by Tbaytel at the Whitewater Golf Club in Thunder Bay, Ontario, the Canadian Sport Tourism Alliance (CSTA) worked with City of Thunder Bay – Tourism to conduct an economic impact study on the event.  The Sports Tourism Economic Assessment Model (STEAM) found that the combined spending of visitors and event organizers in producing the event reached more than $1.8 million in initial expenditures, which supported an estimated $4 million of economic activity in Ontario and $2.8 million in Thunder Bay alone.

The event supported 25 jobs in the province paying $767,000 in wages and salaries, and total federal, provincial and municipal taxes supported by the event reached $728,000. In total the net economic activity (GDP) was $2.0 million in the province, of which $1.2 million was in Thunder Bay.
“One of our key mandates is to make a positive impact in the communities where we play, and we’re pleased to see the Staal Foundation Open creating so much activity in Thunder Bay. Perhaps even more important is the $190,500 donation the tournament organization generated for charitable causes is Northwestern Ontario. We look forward to seeing the event make an even greater impact in 2016 and beyond,” said Mackenzie Tour President Jeff Monday.
The tournament, which saw 156 professional golfers from more than 15 countries compete for a $175,000 purse, was one of 12 events on the 2015 schedule.
In addition to the 156 up-and-coming professional golfers, the tournament featured 287 Pro-Am participants and drew thousands more each day in spectators. J.J. Spaun of Newport Beach, California was the eventual champion, earning the $31,500 winner’s prize and propelling him to the top spot on the 2015 Order of Merit, earning him full status on the Tour for 2016.
“As the host organization for this event we are thrilled with the results of this assessment. The event has become an important event of the summer for many people in the Thunder Bay community, and the support of the Staal family, the city of Thunder Bay and the surrounding area have shown for the event has allowed us to make a significant impact in each of the event’s first two years,” said Tournament Director Scott Smith.
In measuring the economic impact of the golf tournament, a reliable sample of 450 participants and spectators at the event were surveyed as to their role, origin, length of stay, and spending in Thunder Bay.  Additionally, the economic impact study looked at the investments made by the event organizers in hosting the tournament.
The final results come from the combined expenditures of the participants and spectators totaling over $500,000, as well as the event organizer’s operational expenditures. The assessment was prepared by the CSTA using the STEAM PRO economic impact assessment model, widely considered to be the gold standard for evaluating the economic impact of a particular event in a region or area.
“The fact that 19% or 850 of the 5,550 spectators were out of town visitors shows the significant tourism value for the event,” said Paul Pepe, Manager for City of Thunder Bay – Tourism noting most of those came as corporate visitors for the Pro Ams, or were here to visit family and friends to generate the 14,000 in total attendance for the six-days of the event.
The 2015 Staal Foundation Open presented by Tbaytel will take place next July, returning to Whitewater Golf Club.