UFC 129: St-Pierre vs. Shields earned Toronto tourism and local businesses about $40 million, the figure is a “conservative estimate” according to UFC’s Director of Canadian Operations Tom Wright, who suggests it may increase when the official economic impact report is released this August.
Overall, Moneris Solutions, Canada’s largest credit and debit card processor, issued a report last month showing a substantial increase in dollars spent in the city on Saturday, April 30, the day of the highly-anticipated Toronto event. Restaurants enjoyed a 19.2 per cent jump in dollars spent compared week-over-week. Similarly, bars and pubs experienced a 15.7 per cent increase — confirming that in addition to the 55,724 fans at the Rogers Centre, many more watched the popular event outside their home.
The Moneris report also showed a sizable rise in retail spending from people who made their way to the downtown core. Apparel and sporting goods stores saw a 41.3 per cent and a 33 per cent jump in sales respectively. And many people travelled to Toronto to experience the UFC in person, as evidenced by the 20.3 per cent rise in dollars spent at hotels, says the report. “Toronto’s hotel occupancy rates were in the high 90s — which doesn’t usually happen in April,” notes Wright.