Oilers playoff run pumps $179M into Edmonton’s economy: Explore Edmonton

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Edmonton looks to improve evening economy
WATCH: A report offering suggestions for ways to increase traffic throughout Edmonton into the evening and nighttime hours has gone before city council. Breanna Karstens-Smith reports. – Apr 1, 2024

Hockey fans flocking to Edmonton to take part in the Oilers’ Stanley Cup playoff run are showing their support with their wallets, according to Explore Edmonton’s executive director of events and business development.

The first three rounds of the playoffs have generated an estimated $179 million in the city’s local economy as people support hotels, restaurants and other local businesses — notably within the downtown core.

When Edmonton hosted the Grey Cup in 2018, the week-long event generated a little more than $80 million, said Janelle Janis from Explore Edmonton.

“It’s been a tremendous economic boost for Edmonton,” Janis told Global News on Wednesday.

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Janis said the impact of the playoffs has been widespread throughout the city and deeply beneficial throughout its various communities.

Based on Explore Edmonton data, she said around 60,000 hotel visits have been booked during the first three rounds alone.

There is a noticeable difference in economic activity during away games, Janis said.

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“Obviously, the ticket price of attending a game inside of Rogers Place has to account into our calculation,” she said.

“So, of course, any home game is going to have a larger impact than an away game.”

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Edmonton business boom during Oilers Playoff run could be short lived, data suggests

Downtown businesses are gearing up and getting ready, said Puneeta McBryan, executive director of the Downtown Business Association.

“The nice thing is we have so many establishments spread out across downtown that are hosting people. Yes, we have the big crowds right in the Ice District, but then people are dispersed at bars and restaurants across the core that are playing the game.”

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The Stanley Cup finals mean there are a lot of eyes on Edmonton, McBryan said.

“You can’t get a hotel room or a restaurant reservation anywhere downtown on any of these two nights. So, lots of exciting things.”

She said, so far, fans have been fairly well behaved.

“Treat downtown like you would treat every other neighbourhood,” she asked. “Put garbage where it’s supposed to go.”

Police, city officials and businesses are hoping for the best but preparing for the worst.

“We know what can happen when we get let down,” McBryan said.

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Edmonton police ramp up security ahead of Stanley Cup Finals

Janis said Explore Edmonton wants to capitalize off of the city’s moment in the international spotlight, seizing the opportunity to highlight the river valley and displaying playful advertising on Florida billboards.

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“It basically is a play off (saying) Edmonton is the home of five cups and zero rats and all about keeping Edmonton rat-free,” she said.

“But within that billboard, we’re … playing up our city as a northern city and a hockey city and one where you could come see some spectacular sights.”

From discussions on sports podcasts to The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, Janis said this type of exposure for Edmonton is “priceless.”

“One of the most special things about the NHL playoff run that we’ve had is it’s truly united Edmontonians, and as a destination marketing organization, what we’ve learned is that your biggest ambassadors are your citizens,” she said.

“So to have Edmontonians come together and be united for the Oilers has been really special. I think we’ve taken our pride back for the city and I hope to see that continue.”

With files from Emily Mertz, Global News

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