COMPARE and contrast the world series triathlon event successfully staged in Leeds earlier this summer with Sunday’s race in Edmonton, Canada, to see why major sporting events matter to the Yorkshire economy and tourism.
Around 100,000 spectators turned out here to cheer the Brownlee brothers – Alistair beat Jonny in a precursor to the Olympic final – while there appeared to be minimal public support for the Canadian race staged in a municipal park away from the heart of Edmonton and saw the cycling take place on a featureless dual carriageway with no spectator access.
Further evidence about the priceless popularity of the Brownlees – Jonny triumphed in Canada to put himself into world championship contention – but the fact this region is setting a very high standard when it comes to staging global events on the streets or in purpose-built arenas.
Long may this be the case as Leeds prepares to host a show-stopping parade of Yorkshire Olympians and Paralympians to show what sport means to this proud county.
It isn’t the only event to stir the imagination of the city.
Visitor figures for 2015 are up 5.3 per cent since 2013, a survey has found, with 26 million tourist visits to the city recorded. Leeds really is on the up.