The Can-Am Rugby Tournament generated nearly $2 million in direct spending.
That’s according to numbers announced during Monday evening’s regular meeting of the Saranac Lake Village Board of Trustees.
“The estimated direct spending – and that’s not using a multiplier, usually there’s a multiplier of two or three – is close to $2 million for the greater Saranac Lake region spent by participants and spectators at the annual Can-Am Rugby Tournament which is usually held the first week of August or the last week of July or thereabouts.”
Saranac Lake Mayor Clyde Rabideau says it’s clear that the internationally-renowned tournament provides a major economic boost for the community.
Rabideau says 45 referees and their families brought in a total of 112 people. He adds that every rugby player on the field attracts an average of 1.5 spectators.
78 teams of about 25 players participated, totaling about 4,000 people and two spectators per person. Another 24 teams with 30 players brought in about 1,440 people with two spectators per person.
“The average for overnight stays is three-and-a-half days,” Rabideau said. “I think this is on the conservative side -- $100 per day per person spent. And if you average all that out, it’s $1,908,200 spent directly with no multipliers. So it is, indeed, a very significant economic impact.”
Rabideau says the tournament is a sort of “calling card” for Saranac Lake.
“One of my proud moments was being on a New York State Conference of Mayors visit in Saratoga and the bartender at one place said, ‘You’re from Saranac Lake? Oh yea, I go up there all the time for Rugby Weekend.’”
Following his remarks, Rabideau read a proclamation honoring the organizers of the 38th annual Can-Am Rugby Tournament and presented it to the event’s officers – Jay Annis, Nichole Meyette, Patrick Giblin, and Tony Elrod.
Jay Annis says the support of the Tri-Lakes region is key to the tournament’s success.
“We’ve been doing it for 38 years, but it doesn’t happen without a lot of local and community support and a lot of people being willing to put up with 110 teams coming from all over the world,” he said. “That being said, we’re hopeful for another good tournament next year. We already have a lot of people registering and ready to go.”
Nichole Meyette says the village’s support was huge – especially the assistance provided by village workers.
As a token of the tournament organizers’ appreciation, Meyette presented each village trustee with a shirt from this year’s event.