Figure skating’s most fabulous duo is heading to Boston, but these two won’t even step foot on the ice. Tara Lipinski and Johnny Weir arrived at the TD Garden on Monday to serve as NBC commentators for the 2016 ISU World Figure Skating Championships, and the beloved twosome is ready to bring their A-Game.
“Tara and I have the best time together,” Weir says. “We really want to entertain people.”
Weir, whose first senior national championship was held in Boston, calls the Bay State’s fans “boisterous” but “knowledgable.”
“Boston and Massachusetts really do so many great things for figure skating,” says Weir. “Massachusetts really is a skating state.”
Lipinski echoes Weir’s sentiments, adding that having the championships in their home country is even better.
“I’m very excited. This is our first world championship, and to have it in the states is absolutely incredible. There is something so magical and exciting about being there watching this live. I think it’s gonna be quite a treat for Johnny and I and the American public,” says Tara, adding that the level of skating is higher than ever this year.
But the twosome certainly aren’t the only ones heading to the Hub for the big event. Between 85,000 and 90,000 fans from over 30 countries will descend upon the TD Garden for the Championships, which are only awarded to a US city about once every eight to ten years. This is Boston’s first time serving as a host city, and the events are expected to be a major financial boon, immediately generating between $38 to $41 million in spending impact for the visitor economy, says Pat Moscaritolo, President & CEO of the Greater Boston Convention & Visitors Bureau.
“The spending categories are hotels, restaurants, transportation, WFSb- randed merchandise, other retail sales, spending at museums, attractions, tours of the city,” says Moscaritolo, who says spectators and fans from Asia tend to be the biggest spenders on figure skating. “The spending is from all fans — international, regional, domestic, and locals.”
Weir himself is prepared to pump a bit of money into the Boston market; While he and Tara won’t get to leave the Garden much besides the occasional jaunt to Starbucks, Weir is planning on running over to Boston’s shopping mecca for a quick spree.
“We really are there for work,” Weir says. “I definitely will take a minute when I can get it and run over to Alan Bilzerian on Newbury Street. It’s my favorite shop in Boston.”
The 2016 ISU World Figure Skating Championships take place through April 3 at TD Garden. Tickets and information at worlds2016.com