Edmonton hauled in $280 million from Edmonton Oilers playoff run

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“I think the biggest thing is looking at the overnight attendees and their stays.”

Published Jul 03, 2024  •  Last updated 1 hour ago  •  3 minute read

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mayor amarjeet sohi wearing a florida panthers jerseyEdmonton mayor Amarjeet Sohi wore a Florida Panthers jersey in council chambers to fulfill a Stanley Cup final bet after the Edmonton Oilers were defeated in game seven by the Panthers. Photo by Lauren Boothby-Postmedia edm

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The final numbers are in for the economic impact of the Stanley Cup playoffs, bringing a whole new meaning in Edmonton to the term ‘oil money.’

The Edmonton Oilers emerged from the Stanley Cup Finals without a cup, but the city gets the mother of all consolation prizes, strutting into the summer with a cool $280 million and a message to the world that the city continues to be a top big-event host.

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It’s been over a week and the wounds of Edmonton’s Stanley Cup loss are beginning to heal. The cup is visiting some Florida beaches, the players are presumably hitting the golf courses, and now some fans may be having worrisome looks on their faces as last month’s credit card statements roll in. That’s because during Edmonton’s Stanley Cup playoff run, the city raked in $280 million over all four rounds, but it was the fourth round that brought the revenue into the stratosphere, according to an economic impact study conducted by Explore Edmonton with data from the Oilers Entertainment Group (OEG).

Before the players had even taken the ice for the Stanley Cup Finals against the Florida Panthers, the city had already gotten a healthy $179 million injection from the first three rounds. But the final round brought in more than a 56 per cent increase in economic impact, according to data from Explore Edmonton.

“It is a huge jump,” said Cindy Medynski, director of sport and culture with Explore Edmonton.

The seven games in the Stanley Cup Finals alone contributed $100 million to the city, which included a more than 200 per cent leap in business near the arena during the final game.

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With the help of the OEG, Medynski said the financial impact was calculated by Explore Edmonton’s economic impact calculator, a tool developed by Destinations International and backed by Oxford Economics. Medynski explained that the calculator takes several different factors into the equation to come up with an overall number, but they keep an eye on one in particular.

“I think the biggest thing is looking at the overnight attendees and their stays,” said Medynski.

She explained that the overnight stays showed particular promise during the final round. A strong average for overnight stays is 30 per cent, which rounds one to three had. Round four of the playoffs, however, had roughly 45 per cent overnight stays, which Medynski again said was “huge.”

“I think it’s a really great thing for our city in that economic sense,” said Medynski.

What the economic impact calculator can’t account for are the less tangible benefits of the playoff run, like increasing Edmonton’s visibility as a viable destination to host other big events.

“I think it also really puts Edmonton on the map and showcases, at least in North America, that we’ve got a really vibrant and lively and engaged population when it comes to supporting big events,” said Medynski.

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Explore Edmonton’s sport and culture division wants to continue the momentum started by the playoffs and “keep building on that pride that was felt in the city.”

The success of the playoffs from an economic standpoint goes a long way to help attract more events to the city. Medynski added that Edmontonians are equally helpful in demonstrating a commitment to such events.

While citizens proved to be an asset for attracting more business, Medynski said the city can still continue work to ensure venue spaces are optimized.

“We’ve got a lot of legacy, infrastructure and venues, and I think reevaluating how we can use those and what sort of upgrades need to be done in order to support new events coming in…I think that infrastructure piece is really key.”

So, while Mayor Sohi may have had to don a Florida Panthers jersey because of the team’s loss, the Stanley Cup was far from a loss for the city.

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