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Spectator sports, event promoters, artists and related industries, 2022

Released: 2024-02-14

Spectator sports, event promoters, artists and related industries bounce back in 2022

Businesses in the spectator sports, event promoters, artists and related industries subsector earned $11.1 billion in operating revenue in 2022, up 51.6% from 2021.

This subsector has largely recovered from the COVID-19 pandemic, with operating revenue 5.5% higher than in 2019, prior to the pandemic. Spectator sports accounted for the largest share of operating revenue (35.1%), followed by promoters (presenters) of performing arts, sports and similar events (34.0%); independent artists, writers and performers (25.0%); and agents and managers for artists, athletes, entertainers and other public figures (5.9%).

After two years of declines, operating revenue for the spectator sports industry group and the promoters (presenters) of performing arts, sports and similar events industry group rebounded in 2022 to pre-pandemic levels. Operating revenue for independent artists, writers and performers (+14.4% to $2.8 billion) and agents and managers for artists, athletes, entertainers and other public figures (+27.0% to $653.7 million) also fared well in 2022.

Fans return to cheer on their favourite teams

Operating revenue of the spectator sports industry group, which includes sports teams playing in front of a paying audience, horse race tracks, racing events and independent athletes, rose 60.0% to $3.9 billion in 2022. Nonetheless, the profit margin remained negative in 2022 (-3.3%) as operating expenses grew 47.2% to $4.0 billion. Salaries, wages, commissions and benefits increased 23.7% to $1.9 billion.

The recovery was driven by fans returning to live sporting events as leagues that had been playing behind closed doors or with capacity limits welcomed back spectators without restrictions. In 2022, admissions accounted for nearly half (49.7%) of the sales for this industry group. The improvement was buoyed by three Canadian National Hockey League (NHL) teams making the Stanley Cup playoffs, which were held without any pandemic-related limitations for the first time since the 2018/2019 season.

Live events and festivals make a comeback

Promoters (presenters) of performing arts, sports and similar events were heavily affected by pandemic-related restrictions, with many events getting cancelled or scaled back in 2020 and 2021. In 2022, operating revenue for this industry group grew 94.0% to $3.8 billion, as concerts, fairs, festivals and other events resumed. Operating expenses increased 87.1% to $3.6 billion, while salaries, wages, commissions and benefits grew 53.9% to $927.3 million. This led to a profit margin of 5.8%.

Looking ahead

Demand for in-person experiences remained high in 2023. Despite inflationary pressures, many events across Canada showed record or near-record levels of attendance. Average attendance at NHL games was higher than in 2022, as the 2022/2023 season was the first full season where no games were subject to capacity limitations since the onset of the pandemic. An influx of international tourists in 2023 likely boosted attendance at sporting events and live performances. All in all, operating revenue in these industry groups is expected to rise in 2023, but at a slower pace. A complete financial picture for the 2023 reference year will be provided when survey data are published in 2024.

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  Note to readers

Data for 2021 have been revised.

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

The Arts and Culture Data Viewer, a new interactive tool that allows users to easily break down economic and social data from Statistics Canada on arts and culture by geographic area and other dimensions, is now available.

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; or Media Relations (

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