Global Spectrum Facility Management, operators of the Budweiser Gardens in London, Ontario, is preparing to host the prestigious 2013 World Figure Skating Championships at Budweiser Gardens from Monday, March 11 through Sunday, March 17. The World Figure Skating Championships is a one-of-a-kind, one-time only per year event, showcasing over 170 of the world’s best and most competitive athletes from over 50 countries.
As an annual event that moves around the globe and was last in Nice, France, the World Figure Skating Championships attracts more than 150 million international TV viewers throughout the duration of the event. Following the Opening Ceremonies presentation on Wednesday, March 13 at 3:30 p.m. – featuring a local men’s A cappella Forest City Fire – athletes compete for the world’s best crown in four disciplines: men’s, ladies, pairs, and ice dance.
The World Figure Skating Championships have not been in Canada since 2006 in Calgary. It has been nearly 30 years since Ontario hosted the event, dating back to 1984 in Ottawa.
"To host an event of this magnitude is truly an honour," said Global Spectrum Chief Operating Officer John Page. "This is one of the premiere events in the world that countries compete to host knowing the economic impact it will generate in the city."
Competition in London will not only name the world champions in all disciplines, but it will also determine the number of athletes that qualifying countries may send to the Sochi Winter Olympic Games in Russia less than a year away.
Practice sessions begin on Monday, March 11, with the closing exhibition gala on Sunday, March 17.
“I can honestly say I am overwhelmed with the dedication of the members of our local organizing committee with the work and the hours of preparation that they have committed over many months to make this World Championship the best ever,” said Bill Boland, chair of the local organizing committee based in London. “I know that the excitement amongst the local committee and our volunteers is building. They are more than ready to start as we all await the arrival of the first athlete to celebrate One Week, One Worlds and One Team.”
Throughout the competition week, Global Spectrum will embrace approximately 35,000 visitors, 200 reporters, 150 technicians, and 500 volunteers to London’s downtown core, revitalizing Budweiser Gardens’ local partners and surrounding restaurants. The economic potential from this world-class event exceeds what London has seen in the past, as the City of London invested over $38 million in long-term building projects and an impressive “Light Up London” spotlight show during the event. In return, organizers anticipate $28 million dollars in revenue for the city.
In addition to the Talbot Bar and Grille, operated by Ovations Food Management in Budweiser Gardens, over 60 restaurants are within a one kilometre radius to Budweiser Gardens. The dozens of chefs, line cooks and front of house staff members are bracing to serve between 400-500 meals a day, based on 100-seat occupancies.
Restaurants within further walking distance to the venue – such as Joe Kools on Richmond Street – are teaming up with the Richmond Row downtown association to provide a shuttle service that connects Richmond Street with Budweiser Gardens – about 2.5km away. Ron Scarfone, General Manager of Joe Kools recognizes the magnitude of this event, noting that establishments are double staffed, especially in the evenings to ensure timely service between the competition sessions. The Covent Garden Market – a large indoor facility that provides a wide variety of food options and gift outlets – will also see substantial traffic, conveniently located across from the venue.
Local hotels are partnering with restaurants to ensure visitors are at ease with nearby food choices. Host hotels Delta Armouries and Hilton London have been booked for nearly a year in advance. Outside of the hotels, a team of 60 purple-jacketed ‘concierges’ will station around the city to provide helpful travel and transit directions, restaurant recommendations, and information about local London attractions.
The Greater London International Airport expects over 17,000 flyers and a majority of them from international hubs for the duration of the championship. Air Canada has offered increased services and 12 extra flights to Toronto and Montreal on the March 9-10 and March 17-18 weekends to accommodate far-flying travelers.
Global Spectrum recognizes the notoriety of the World Championships and is confident the facility will provide exceptional service to those involved. According to Budweiser Gardens’ Director of Operations Gary Turrell, the operations department has removed over 34,800 cubic feet of equipment off-site to make room for warm up, doping and first aid, as well as IT communications.
“There are back-up plans in place for about every possible situation, from IT, to hydro power, to the Zamboni motors,” said Turrell. “The first few practice days will be busy getting our operations practices in place, but we will have a routine down by competition time and expect no less than an international standard of excellence here.”
Surrounding the venue, the Budweiser Gardens parking lots are assigned to media, staff, and accessible driving permits. Spectators’ reserved spots are a 10-minute walk from Budweiser Gardens, allotted at the Ridout and Horton Street lots. Nearby parking managers (most notably, Impark) have agreed to reduce daily parking rates and accommodate as many vehicles as possible for the 10,000 capacity venue.
As a former host of the 2005 Memorial Cup, 2005 and 2010 Canadian National Figure Skating Championships, and the 2011 National Curling Brier, Global Spectrum’s Budweiser Gardens is sure to be a memorable stage for figure skating’s best, striving for World titles and Olympic contention.
Single event tickets are on sale at the Budweiser Gardens Box Office, Online atwww.budweisergardens.com and by phone at 1-866-455-2849. Tickets are also available at Masonville Place Guest Services, The UWO Bookstore and BooksPlus and the Fanshawe College Biz Booth.
Follow the event on Twitter: @BudGardens – #FSWorlds13 – #LUL2013
Stay tuned for Budweiser Gardens updates on Facebook: www.facebook.com/budweisergardens
About Global Spectrum: (global-spectrum.com) manages Budweiser Gardens, as well as more than 100 other public assembly facilities around the world. Nearly 20-million people attended more than 11,000 events in Global Spectrum venues last year. Based in Philadelphia, PA, Global Spectrum is part of Comcast-Spectacor, one of the world’s largest sports and entertainment companies. Comcast-Spectacor also owns the Philadelphia Flyers of the National Hockey League, Ovations Food Services, a food and beverage services provider, New Era Tickets, a full-service ticketing and marketing product for public assembly facilities, Paciolan, the leading provider of venue establishment ticketing, fundraising and marketing technology solutions, Front Row Marketing Services, a commercial rights sales company, and Flyers Skate Zone, a series of community ice skating rinks.