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Bass tournament generated over $1 million in spending

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A “spending survey” conducted during this year’s Fort Frances Canadian Bass Championship revealed that more than $1 million was spent here as a result of the tournament and its activities.

Total money spent by American visitors was an estimated $367,500, followed by Rainy River District residents ($341,820), Ontarians ($223,020), Fort Frances residents ($220,500), and Canadians living outside of Ontario ($215,600).

But Geoff Gillon of the Rainy River Future Development Corp., which conducted the survey, warned last week this was not an “economic impact study.” He suggested some of the money spent here during the bass tournament quite possibly would have been spent regardless.

Still, he said the FFCBC has a far more immediate impact than most people would have thought, and added a more in-depth economic study probably will be done in the near future.

Besides attaining financial success, the FFCBC also reached another one of its goals this past July—drawing in even bigger crowds.

While an estimated 12,250 people attended the event from the Wednesday through to the final weigh-in Sunday afternoon, figures showed a wide range of people took in the events at different times of the day.

“What we found was that there were three different peaks during the tournament,” Gillon said yesterday. “We had kids take in the kids’ activities from noon to 2 p.m. from Thursday to Saturday, then we had the bass weigh-in crowd from 3-4 p.m., and then we had the 18-30 crowd to take in the night activities from 9 p.m.-1 a.m.”

Gillon noted each segment of the tournament had a different “appeal” for everyone involved, and recommended the FFCBC continue that trend in future.

“My recommendation to them would be to keep the focus on providing activities for the whole community while maintaining the high quality of the fishing,” he stressed, adding he noticed many people who had moved away came back to the area just for the bass tournament.

“There were quite a number of [them] who made this tournament the focus point of their summer,” noted Gillon. “It gives them an event to come to and it gives the town a focal point of the summer.”

FFCBC committee member Doug Cain confirmed the tournament will continue to try to appeal to all ages of spectators.

“We’ve always tried to have activities for everyone to do and not just have a bass tournament,” he said, adding organizers will benefit from the information received by the study. “It’s important for us to make it a fun experience for everyone.”

Of the 161 “extensive” surveys conducted by the RRFDC, most of the spectators were from Fort Frances (36 percent) and Rainy River District (31 percent). The remainder came from Ontario (13 percent), the U.S. (12 percent), and the rest of Canada (eight percent).

But it was the Americans who spent the most money on food, lodging, and entertainment, said Gillon, spending an average of $250 each day, just ahead of Canadians making the trip here from outside of Ontario ($220).

Ontario residents spent an average of $140 a day here while those in the district spent roughly $90 a day. Fort Frances residents spent an average of $50 a day.

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