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2016 News and Information

20 facts about the Richmond Olympic Oval

28 October 2016

A recent article in the Richmond News questioned whether the Richmond Olympic Oval was “worth it.” A look at the real facts shows that it most certainly is.

Oval Accessibility and Community Use

1. The Oval has been a huge popular success since its opening. People chose to attend the Oval over 900,000 times in 2015. This includes regular use by the Oval’s over 6,000 members, 81 per cent of which are Richmond residents. In addition, many thousands more visit the family and sports medicine clinics housed at the Oval.
2. Over 40 Richmond-based sports groups were active in the Oval throughout 2015. More than 2,000 children have participated in Oval Sport Camps in the last year. The Oval also provides subsidized rental rates to numerous community sport organizations.
3. Over 140 sports have been played at the Oval since opening.

Anyone can visit the Oval, become a member or participate in the many drop-in programs. The public may participate in the Oval’s programs by purchasing a day pass or membership. Complimentary community access is also possible through special sport, cultural and entertainment events, sport team practices, visitation to the Richmond Sport Wall of Fame, History of Sport in Richmond, ROX SHOP, the Olympic Riverside Plaza, Water Sky Garden and other public services.

5. The Oval has received 39 awards for excellence in architecture and usability, including being the only North American recipient of an All-Time award for excellence in Olympic Legacy facilities.
6. The Oval also has been awarded ‘Best Sport Adventure Centre’ by the Georgia Straight 5 years in a row and recently won a ‘Best New or Improved Attraction in Canada’ award for the Olympic Experience in 2016.

38 athletes who train at the Oval represented Canada at the Rio 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games. These athletes not only represent Canada on the world stage, they inspire the local youth who train beside them to seek their own personal bests.

Government Funding and Oval Profitability

The Oval is financially sound. In 2015, Oval revenues were $16.1 million and operating expenses were $13.8 million, resulting in a $2.3 million surplus.

9. The Oval Corporation is required to reinvest all profits or surpluses ($2.3 million in 2015) back into the facility.
10. As confirmed by independent professional auditors, the Oval Corporation has generated a profit / operating surplus in every year of post-Games operation. Contrary to what has been reported, the Oval does not operate at a deficit.
11. The Oval is a great deal for the City. The City’s contribution of $3.3 million to Oval operations in 2015 works out to a City cost of $8.43 per square foot. The City’s cost per square foot of operating other civic facilities ranges from $3.15 to $126.04. The Oval has the second lowest operating cost per square foot after Minoru Arenas. By comparison, Richmond Public Library costs $126.04 per square foot to operate, Hamilton Community Centre is $69.14/sq.ft., Minoru Seniors Centre is $63.49/sq.ft. and Watermania is $60.02/sq.ft.
12. The City makes a financial contribution towards the operating costs of all City owned facilities. All City owned facilities are exempt from paying property taxes or rent because they are the property of the City. From the City’s perspective, upon consolidation of the City’s and Oval’s financial statements the net cost to the City in 2015 for the Oval was $1 million ($2.3 million Oval profit minus the $3.3 million City contribution). Therefore, the true cost to the City for the Oval’s 2015 annual operations was $1 million, not the $3.3 million contributed, because the City is the owner and the Oval Corporation reinvested the $2.3 million in the facility.
13. The City is the sole owner of the Oval. The Oval Corporation operates the Oval on behalf of the City, but receives no payment for doing so. The Oval pays for its own maintenance, operating and capital costs. Collectively, Richmond’s other City owned facilities receive millions of dollars each year from the City for the same costs.
14. As an Olympic legacy venue, the Oval generates additional long-term revenues through enhanced sponsorship programs. The Oval has attracted over $8 million in sponsorship funding to date.

Maintaining Olympic Relationships
15. The Oval’s strong, ongoing relationships with the International Olympic Committee (IOC), Canadian Olympic Committee (COC), and National Sport Organizations (NSO) continue to generate many benefits for the Oval and community of Richmond. This assists the Oval in its efforts to provide the latest equipment, best coaches and programs for its members, athletes and broader community in general.
16. Our Olympic relationships add value. The Oval receives benefits and cost savings with an estimated value in kind of $5-6 million annually from the IOC and COC. Further enhancing this value are the Olympic Rings on the building and ability to use the term Olympic in our name, which has contributed to attracting significant sponsorship dollars.
17. The cost of our Olympic relationships is modest. These costs are paid from funds generated from sponsorship. No property tax dollars are used for this purpose. The average cost of the Oval’s Olympic-related obligations is between $50,000 and $70,000 annually.
18. The community benefits from our external funding. Over the past 10 fiscal years, the Oval has received more than $27 million from the Games Operating Trust (GOT) to support the Oval’s role as a high performance sport centre. The Oval continues to receive roughly $2.5-$2.8 million annually from GOT. The ability to receive this external funding in perpetuity was a key reason the City decided to build the Oval and to participate in the 2010 Olympic Games.
19. The Oval’s high performance sport program generates more than $1 million a year in revenues. Hosting of high performance events, on average, generates an additional $235,000 in revenues annually.
20. The Oval was honoured to receive an invitation from the COC to participate at the 2016 Olympic Games and to activate at Canada Olympic House. The Oval continues to have strong appeal for its numerous partners. Its partnerships have provided many financial benefits to date and additional benefits as a result of the Rio 2016 activation will be announced in the future. These benefits have been achieved with modest business development investments. It simply makes good economic sense to take advantage of Olympic -related opportunities when they offer such a strong return on investment.

For additional information on Oval finances, programs, services and operations, please visit