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University of Minnesota Extension

Economic contribution of attendees of East Grand Forks ice arena youth events

On the rink view of the East Grand Forks ice arena.

Key findings

  • Total economic contribution: Ice arena youth event visitors generated $2.1 million of economic activity in Polk County during the winter of 2021-2022.
    • This included $574,410 of income for county residents.
    • The events supported 40 jobs.
    • Hotels, restaurants and bars benefited most directly from the visitors.
  • Visitors: Extension estimated there were 9,379 youth ice event visitors in the 2021-2022 season.
    • This included 3,955 overnight visitors and 5,424 day-trippers.
  • Visitor spending: Visitors directly spent nearly $1.7 million in the East Grand Forks area.
    • Overnight visitors spent, on average, $133.30 per person per day.
    • Day trippers spent, on average, $64.50.
    • Major expenses included lodging and dining out.
  • Accommodations: 91 percent of ice event attendees stayed in hotels.
    • Of those hotel guests, 70 percent stayed at a property located in Grand Forks.
  • Visitor activities: The survey asked attendees what activities they engaged in during their visit.
    • The most common activities included dining, youth skating, youth sports, and downtown shopping.
  • Influence on visitor destination: The hockey and figure skating events are definitely drawing people to East Grand Forks.
    • Only 15 percent of respondents would have come to East Grand Forks in absence of the event.
    • Four in ten attendees plan to return within a year, mostly for youth sports.
  • Demographics: Most visitors traveled as families with children ages 13 to 17.
    • Household incomes of the visitors are relatively high – with 40 percent at $150,000 or more.
    • Survey respondents came from locations across Minnesota and the Dakotas.

About this report

As part of its mission, East Grand Forks Parks and Recreation offers a variety of youth programming, including youth hockey and figure skating. To offer this programming, the department operates multiple ice arenas. East Grand Forks Parks and Recreation is considering upgrading its ice arenas and facilities. Before moving forward, leaders were interested in understanding the economic contribution of the youth activities in the community. Thus they partnered with University of Minnesota Extension to conduct this study.

In winter 2021-2022, Extension surveyed attendees of youth hockey and figure skating events to gather data on spending in the community. Volunteers gathered surveys from events at the Civic Center, VFW, and Blue Line arenas. The survey received 140 responses.

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Authors: Brigid Tuck, senior economic impact analyst; Rani Bhattacharyya, Extension educator

Reviewed in 2022

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