KAMLOOPS – The B.C. Lions recently wrapped up their three-week training camp at Hillside Stadium in Kamloops for the sixth straight year. If you are counting, that’s roughly $250,000 the City of Kamloops has paid for the privilege of hosting the Canadian Football League team.
According to financial reports, the city has paid $211,000 from 2010 to 2014, plus another estimated $40,000 this year. The city is signed on to maintain the partnership for another three years.
City facilities manager Jeff Putnam says the Lions fit well with the city’s marketing strategy.
“The training camp is really a crown jewel of the tournament capital brand,” he says.
Kamloops pays the Lions to train at the Hillside Stadium and, he says, in return the city gets exposure and estimated economic spinoff from hosting players, coaches, trainers and staff.
The camp also tends to attract national and provincial media to the city. Tangible returns are advertising at B.C. Place in Vancouver as well as a full-page colour ad in each game-day program, a two-minute ad on the jumbotron during warm-up, and a 15-second ad during halftime highlighting the training camp.
Putnam says the city first approached the organization in 2009 after hearing the team was looking to relocate its training camp from Abbotsford.
“We heard rumours the facilities weren’t up to par,” Putnam says, citing possible water damage in the city’s stadium.
The Lions were impressed with both Hillside Stadium and the City of Kamloops, he says.
The partnership has worked so well from the City’s perspective, it’s now targetting National Hockey League training camps, including the Vancouver Canucks and Dallas Stars even for just three or four days.
Putnam expects the cost of an NHL camp to be within the same range as the Lions' camp. He calls the Lions "an awesome organization to work with." The economic impact of the training camp is pegged by the city at $350,000.
WHAT THE CITY OF KAMLOOPS PAID THE B.C. LIONS
2015: $40,000 (city estimate)
- This story was updated at 8:45 a.m. July 1 to include an economic impact estimate by the city.
To contact a reporter for this story, email Dana Reynolds at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 250-819-6089. To contact an editor, email email@example.com or call 250-718-2724.