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Spectator sports, event promoters, artists and related industries, 2018

Released: 2020-05-14

The spectator sports, event promoters, artists and related industries generated a combined operating revenue of $9.7 billion in 2018, up 0.7% from 2017. Nevertheless, this increase was smaller than what was observed in 2016 (+4.4%) and in 2017 (+6.5%).

Promoters (presenters) of performing arts, sports and similar events accounted for the largest share of total operating revenue (37.2%), followed by spectator sports (35.7%), independent artists, writers and performers (21.8%), and agents and managers for artists, athletes, entertainers and other public figures (5.3%).

Major national and international sporting events held in Alberta helped support growth in the event promotion industry

Revenues in the event promotion industry grew 1.3% to $3.6 billion in 2018, following an 8.9% increase in 2017, the year of Canada's 150th and Montréal's 375th celebrations.

This industry's performance can be influenced in part by the number of international tourists visiting Canada. In 2018, the number of international tourists visiting the country rose 1.2% to 21.1 million, compared with a 4.6% increase in the previous year.

Businesses in Alberta (+$47.1 million) and Ontario (+$13.5 million) led revenue gains in 2018. National growth was tempered by declines in Quebec (-$18.9 million). Growth in Alberta was influenced by several factors including national and international sporting events such as the International Swimming Federation Diving Grand Prix 2018 in Calgary.

Operating expenses for event promoters increased 1.6% to $3.6 billion. Salaries, wages, commissions and benefits were $803.5 million, up 1.5% from the previous year.

E-commerce sales as a share of total sales grew 1.8 percentage points to 26.5% in 2018.

National Hockey League teams impact revenues in spectator sports industry

The spectator sports industry, composed of sports teams playing before a paying audience, horse race tracks, racing events and independent athletes, had an operating revenue of $3.5 billion in 2018, down 2.9% from the previous year. This decline reflects in part a decrease in admissions to live events as only two Canadian National Hockey League teams made the Stanley cup playoffs in 2018, compared with five the previous year.

Nonetheless, operating expenses grew by 1.7% leading to an operating profit margin of -2.8%. Salaries, wages, commissions and benefits, which accounted for 53.8% of operating expenses, increased 3.1% to $1.9 billion in 2018, owing to player acquisitions and contract renewals.

E-commerce accounted for 11.8% of total sales. Businesses that reported e-commerce revenue in 2018 identified their company websites as the most common method used for e-commerce sales (71.6%), followed by third-party websites (64.4%) and mobile applications (24.6%).

Operating revenue from independent artists, writers and performers rises

Operating revenue from independent artists, writers and performers rose 4.9% to $2.1 billion 2018, following a 2.9% decline in 2017. Operating expenses were $1.3 billion, resulting in an operating profit margin of 40.7%. Salaries, wages, commissions and benefits increased 5.2% to $257.1 million and accounted for 20.4% of total operating expenses.

Operating revenue from agents and managers for artists, athletes, entertainers and other public figures continues to grow

After an 11.9% rise in 2017, operating revenue from agents and managers for artists, athletes, entertainers and other public figures grew 5.4% in 2018 to reach $515.1 million. The largest gains were recorded in British Columbia (+$20.1 million) and Alberta (+$4.0 million).

E-commerce sales accounted for 0.8% of total sales.

The operating profit margin for this industry changed little from 2017 (20.6%) to 2018 (20.7%).

  Note to readers

Data for 2016 and 2017 have been revised.

These and other data related to the arts, culture, and heritage and sport sectors can be found at the Culture statistics portal.

Contact information

For more information, or to enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact us (toll-free 1-800-263-1136; 514-283-8300; STATCAN.infostats-infostats.STATCAN@canada.ca) or Media Relations (613-951-4636; STATCAN.mediahotline-ligneinfomedias.STATCAN@canada.ca).

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