Sport Tourism Has Ultimate Teammate In Jarvis












by Jeffrey Reed, Editor,

Sport Tourism London’s Zanth Jarvis is one of the city’s biggest cheerleaders when it comes to bidding for and hosting tournaments and events. But the sport tourism assistant is turning his attention solely to the gridiron this weekend – and you can’t blame him.

Jarvis, 29, is a former football all-star out of Oshawa who played as a 6-foot-5, 200-pound wide receiver with the Western Mustangs from 2008 to 2012. His Mustangs lost the 2008 Vanier Cup to Laval Rouge et Or, 44-21, at Hamilton’s Ivor Wynne Stadium.

In 2014, Jarvis was a corporate partnerships account manager with the Canadian Football League – even more reason to cheer on the Calgary Stampeders and Ottawa Redblacks at tomorrow’s Grey Cup.

When Jarvis isn’t promoting London as a host city and helping in every aspect of bid development, he’s working as an economic impact project coordinator with Ottawa-based Canadian Sport Tourism Alliance (CSTA). Sport Tourism London’s director Cheryl Finn is CSTA chair.

“Working with the CSTA allows me to assist with economic impact assessments throughout the country, and that in turn allows me to bring back those experiences to some of the events here in London,” Jarvis said.

“Same with my short stint with the CFL. It was a great experience being able to see the business professionalism of an organization like that, and to now bring that experience to London when working on our events and dealing with corporate partnerships.”

Sport Tourism London, fresh from hosting a highly-successful Ontario Summer Games, recently held its annual community sport organizations meeting which showcases what the City’s tourism arm can do in terms of helping bid for and hosting tournaments and events of all sizes.

Most local groups are operated by volunteers. Jarvis said there’s no reason why they should solely carry the burden of staging a regional, provincial, national or even international event.

“We can assist with bid development, securing venues, accommodation, food services, transportation, marketing and volunteers – all the work that goes into hosting an event. Even bylaws and permits – garbage collection and road closures for example – we can help with,” Jarvis said.

“Every year we meet new people at our meeting. Sometimes it’s just because of organizational turnover at the top, and that’s great because we’re still building relationships. Other times we meet new groups – new sports or fringe groups like London Pickleball Club or Forest City Derby Girls, and groups like disc golf or cricket.”

Of course, the sexy events include the likes of the London-hosted 2013 ISU World Figure Skating Championships which saw more than 62,000 attendees and $32.1 million in direct economic spinoffs in London alone. A world-wide audience of more than 165 million TV viewers helped put London on the map and planted seeds for further economic boosts.

Read my previous column, London Host With The Most, here.

But according to Jarvis, the smaller events like minor sports tournaments are London’s “bread and butter” when it comes to labelling London a leading tournament and event host.

“If you look at the economic impact of the World Figure Skating Championship, it was great, but we’re probably never going to host that event again, or at least for another 20 years. It’s not the way it works with those events. They move them around,” Jarvis explained.

“But you can host a minor basketball, hockey, baseball or soccer tournament every weekend. And if you add those up over five or 10 years, it would be equal or greater to the economic impact of one large-scale event.”

Hockey Canada’s 2018 Canadian Tire Para Hockey Cup is the next big event slated for London from December 2 to 8 at Western Fair Sports Centre. Thus far, there’s no big sports function planned for London in 2019 other than the Freedom 55 Financial Championship at Highland Country Club. That tournament is poorly attended, but does put London on the international golf map which, in turn, has the potential to create future economic spinoffs. If nothing else, it adds to London’s already lofty reputation for hosting international events.

Grassroots events will include March 2019’s Ontario Soccer summit, at BMO Centre and Wolf Performance Hall. And London will again host the Ontario Summer Games in 2020.

Jarvis said with other Canadian communities stepping up their game in terms of bidding for tournaments and one-off events, the London sport tourism team needs to do the same.

With his competitive football days still in his rear view mirror, Jarvis is no doubt a huge asset to Sport Tourism London’s game plan.


Jeffrey Reed has been a member of the London sports media since 1980, and is publisher/editor of, and Have a story idea for Jeffrey? Reach him at

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About jeffreyreed

A leading Canadian communications professional. Corporate office established 1989. Publisher/Editor of this website and Sports journalist since 1980.

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