The Abbotsford Entertainment and Sports Centre (AESC) generated an economic impact of $24.3 million in 2010 according to figures released Friday.
The economic impact study, which will be presented to council Monday afternoon, was written by the consulting company Grant Thornton International.
It also stated that the equivalent of 305 full-time jobs were created by the AESC last year.
“It’s nice to know that it’s not all bad news,” said Abbotsford Mayor George Peary.
“The critics of the sports centre either don’t understand, or choose not to understand, that there are some benefits.”
According to the study, the AESC hosted 68 events in 2010 and attracted a total attendance of 208,450. That breaks down to 146,450 to Abbotsford Heat games, 11,530 to music concerts and 50,470 to entertainment and other events.
The economic impact is evaluated by establishing direct, indirect and induced spending. Direct includes expenditures and employment directly related to the AESC, indirect is money in the community created by supplying goods and services to the facility, and induced is the impact created by visiting teams, patrons and entertainers (such as hotel rooms and restaurants, gas stations etc.).
The report indicated that even more economic impact could be seen in the coming years as the proposed University District (U-District) is created. The city has planned to create a district, with the University of the Fraser Valley and the AESC at its centre. The plan calls for shops restaurants, easy transit access and other improvements.
“We hope to see a lot of new development in the next decade or so,” said Peary.
While the study is being perceived as good news, Peary said that won’t stop the ongoing work to cut down the AESC deficit which was $3.4 million in 2010 and $2.6 million in 2009.
“We still have a lot of work to do to improve attendance at Heat games,” he said. However he did acknowledged that Global Spectrum, which manages the facility, has done a good job increasing the number, and the success, of travelling entertainment shows.