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Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth is Calgary's brand

It may be the Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth, but according to the experts, Stampede is also Calgary’s brand.

Whatever we consider it, one economist says it’s working for the city, given the fact over $345-million is spent in Calgary each and every July.

In a commentary written in the Globe and Mail, ATB Financial Chief Economist Todd Hirsch believes no one takes this event more seriously than corporate Calgary.

Business relationships are formed in the private boxes of the grandstands and the parties.

In its ten days, CEOs ditch the boardroom in favour of cowboy get-ups and a “goofy veneer.”

Hirsch says the most significant value of the Stampede is the marketing and image.

It operates as a not-for-profit community organization and has become an internationally recognized embodiment of Western culture and heritage.

The event, he adds, is not without its drawbacks, saying sometimes the boorish and drunken behaviour has a habit of spilling onto the streets.

Some, he says, chalk it up to nothing more than a drunken cowboy Mardi Gras, but he warns it’s one of the world’s greatest marketing tools, worth millions to a small-sized global city.