Sunday was for (Sports) Lovers This Past Valentine's Day

Basketball and Valentine's Day spent the weekend together in Toronto to heat up sales on a cold February 14

TORONTO, Feb. 24, 2016 /CNW/ - Basketball and Valentine's Day might make an odd couple but the combination resulted in a slam dunk for local Toronto businesses over the recent long weekend, despite record cold temperatures, according to MasterCard SpendingPulse. Locals hibernated on Saturday, February 13, saving their energy for the biggest night in romantic relationships and/or sports (depending who you ask) on Sunday. Visitors did not let the cold weather mess with their game as they went out and experienced what Toronto has to offer all weekend.

"We have seen significant upticks in spending when other cities have hosted major sporting events and now Toronto benefited from that same effect," said Sarah Quinlan, senior vice president of market insights for MasterCard. "The long weekend in February saw a collision of factors as locals and tourists celebrated special occasions in the city and international visitors took advantage of the low Canadian dollar."

Key spending trends over the long weekend:

  • Toronto saw an influx of visitors and visitor spending. International visitors accounted for a greater share of spending this weekend than any day in 2016 so far. Canadians from other provinces also poured in, fueling impressive double-digit gains in domestic spending on hotels and recreation. Hotel spending on February 14 was 30 per cent higher than the average of the past two months.
  • Locals and visitors showed their love on Sunday. February 14, 2016 saw a doubling of tourist spending at Toronto restaurants and bars. Locals too were out enjoying the Valentine's Day and/or game day celebrations, giving restaurants and bars a 50 per cent boost overall. Torontonians spent about 40 per cent more on both restaurants and recreation on February 14 than they had a week earlier, and restaurant cheques were an average 28 per cent higher than the previous week. Clothing stores also saw spending climb by double digits on Sunday.
  • Visitors braved the cold while locals stayed home Saturday. Clothing retail showed weak numbers on Saturday, despite having a big Sunday. When it came to restaurant spending, it seems locals wanted to stay in on Saturday in preparation for a big night out on Sunday – local spending on restaurants on Saturday, February 13, 2016 fell compared to the week prior. Visitors, however, made up for the slump, with visitor restaurant spending rising 75 per cent from the previous Saturday.

MasterCard SpendingPulse: SpendingPulse reports on national Canadian retail sales across all payments types. The findings are based on aggregate sales activity in the MasterCard payment network, coupled with survey-based estimates for certain other payment forms, such as cash and check. In addition to Canada, SpendingPulse is available in the United States and select markets around the world.

About MasterCard
MasterCard (NYSE: MA),, is a technology company in the global payments industry. We operate the world's fastest payments processing network, connecting consumers, financial institutions, merchants, governments and businesses in more than 210 countries and territories. MasterCard's products and solutions make everyday commerce activities – such as shopping, traveling, running a business and managing finances – easier, more secure and more efficient for everyone. Follow us on Twitter @MasterCardNews, join the discussion on the Cashless Pioneers Blog and subscribe for the latest news on the Engagement Bureau.

About MasterCard SpendingPulse 
A macroeconomic indicator, MasterCard SpendingPulse reports on national retail sales and is based on aggregate sales activity in the MasterCard payments network, coupled with survey-based estimates for certain other payment forms, including cash and cheque. MasterCard SpendingPulse does not represent MasterCard financial performance. SpendingPulse is provided by MasterCardAdvisors, the professional services arm of MasterCard International Incorporated. MasterCard SpendingPulse reports and content, including estimated forecasts of spending trends, do not in any way contain, reflect or relate to actual MasterCard operational or financial performance, or specific payment-card-issuer data.

About MasterCard Advisors
As the professional services arm of MasterCard Worldwide, MasterCard Advisors is uniquely qualified to provide clients with insights and solutions that drive tangible impact and financial gain. MasterCard Advisors provides payments consulting, information, analytics, and customized services that deliver value to its customers. In doing so, the company uses information to create products and services in which privacy and security are fundamental to their design. A technology company that is an electronic payments leader, MasterCard is committed to the responsible use of information and pledges strong privacy protection for the transaction data the company processes. Its information management practices support the company's mission to make payments safe, simple and smart. For more information, go to

SOURCE MasterCard

For further information: Miriam Sherkey,, 416 355-7410; Serda Evren,, 416 365-6671

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