In 2019, North Central Badminton Academy (PG) Society received a $10,400 grant from Northern Development through the Marketing Initiatives program towards this $20,832 project. This has been a funding partnership of Northern Development
From April 27 to May 2, 2020, Prince George will be hosting Canada’s best master badminton players at the Charles Jago Northern Sport Centre for the 2020 Canadian Masters Badminton Championships. More than 200 athletes are expected to visit Northern B.C. for the fast-paced tournament, bringing along family and friends to cheer them on from the bleachers and to enjoy time in Prince George together.
“The economic piece is quite huge,” said Lisa Davison, chair of the 2020 Canadian Masters Badminton Championships. “This age group ranges from 30 to 80 plus years old, so they might be travelling with people who are looking to find out more information about post-secondary options for their family members. This is an important piece to us because of the additional and lasting benefits that it creates.”
One hundred and fifty rooms have already been blocked off in local hotels to ensure athletes have a place to stay during the week-long championships. The Sport Tourism Economic Assessment Model (STEAM) suggests that the total economic impact of the competition will be $765,717. Local accommodators, restaurants, transportation providers and attractions are all expected to benefit from influx of visitors.
“There is a significant amount of time throughout their stay for athletes to roam and enjoy our city,” said Davison. “And, unlike the 2015 Canada Winter Games, there is no central athletes’ village where players can eat. They will want to be entertained, see, taste, drink and immerse themselves into our community and Northern B.C., both indoors and outdoors.”
Attracting athletes and spectators from all the provinces and territories can be a daunting task. To ensure the event is well attended, a marketing plan to attract athletes, spectators and volunteers has been created and implemented. Northern Development committed more than $10,000 through its Marketing Initiatives program to help the local organizing committee and host club, North Central Badminton Academy, successfully promote the competition.
“This event, you start off with zero dollars, so you have to acquire money and support from somewhere and you can’t do that without marketing,” Davison continued. “This grant allowed us to hire a high-quality design company for the logo, sponsorship package, pamphlet and website. It also gave us the funds to produce a promotional video, highlighting the unique activities that athletes and their families can do in the area.”
The championships will be held at the Northern Sport Centre at the University of Northern British Columbia. In 2006, almost exactly 14 years before the 2020 Canadian Masters Badminton Championships are scheduled to begin, Northern Development approved $4.2 million in funding for the construction of the Northern Sport Centre. Of this $4.2 million, $1.2 million was provided in the form of a grant through the Economic Diversification Infrastructure program and $3 million was a no-interest loan.
At that time, supporters of the Northern Sport Centre knew that the construction of a high-performance facility would benefit the region in numerous ways, including through the attraction of tournaments that would otherwise be hosted elsewhere.
The Economic Diversification Infrastructure program provides grant funding to support major infrastructure projects in order to strengthen the local economy. The construction of the Northern Sport Centre has undeniably led to increased sport tourism in Prince George. The facility was officially opened in September 2007 and soon after it hosted the 2008 Western Canadian Championships of Men’s and Women’s Artistic Gymnastics. In 2009, the National CIS (Canadian Interuniversity Sport) Basketball Championship was held at the Northern Sport Centre. In 2015, the venue was used for numerous sports during the 2015 Canada Winter Games in Prince George, including badminton, judo, squash, archery and gymnastics over the span of two weeks.
“The 2015 Canada Winter Games set the stage for how to host this event,” said Davison.