The top of the 2015 Sports City Poll reads like a Wikipedia summary of the world’s most influential cities: London, Rio de Janeiro, Tokyo and Beijing. And then, there in seventh place, is sleepy, frozen Edmonton, far ahead of every other Canadian city.

And it’s been rising fast, having placed 44th in 2013. The reason? “Bidding for or hosting major international sports events strongly increase the chance of cities to be associated with sport,” says Lars Haue-Pedersen, managing director with Geneva-based TSE Consulting, the company behind the annual survey of Internet users and 100 international influencers in the world of sport. Edmonton’s bid for the Commonwealth Games, even though it was withdrawn, put it on the map, as does the annual Triathlon World Cup. “And Canada’s hosting of the Women’s World Cup and the way they treated it and presented it as a real world cup [read: Men’s World Cup] was very well received here in Europe,” Haue-Pedersen says.

Hey, who knew gender equality could pay?