County Warden Brent Devolin speaks from the Hometown Hockey stage in Haliburton. /SUE TIFFIN File photo

County price tag for Hometown Hockey about $16K 

By Chad Ingram

Published Nov. 28 2017

Hosting Rogers Hometown Hockey in October ultimately cost Haliburton County just less than $16000.

A follow up report on the event which took place in Haliburton Village Oct. 14 and 15 was received by members of the county’s tourism committee during a Nov. 22 meeting.

During a September council meeting councillors discovered the county was expected to cover some costs including signage and security and some others.

It was unclear at the time exactly what those expenses might total but was indicated that signage and security could cost in the neighbourhood of $10000 respectively.

The report received last week from county tourism director Amanda Virtanen shows the final expenses for the county to be approximately $16000.

Some $5300 was spent on shuttle buses bringing residents to Head Lake Park where the festival took place; another $2000 spent on bussing to get students from throughout the county to a special event that took place at the Haliburton Highlands Secondary School the Friday of the event weekend.

“The event served as a great platform to gather all students (first time ever to our knowledge) and also built up excitement for the festival weekend” Virtanen’s report reads. “The visit included a hockey-themed ‘circus show’ the Hometown Hockey mascot and videos. After the visit all of the students met on the field of the high school for a drone photo captured by County of Haliburton staff. This footage was used in the Rogers Sportsnet broadcast by the schools and widely throughout social media.”

Signage ended up costing just more than $10000 security just more than $6000. Another $300 was spent on marketing for an approximate total of $23800.

This amount was offset by a grant from Hydro One for $6000 and contributions from the lower-tier municipalities for the shuttle service totally approximately $1800.

Virtanen told councillors at the meeting that some signage was sold to Orillia for $400 dropping the county’s total to less than $16000.

“Approximately 4000 people came out to the festival over the course of the weekend” Virtanen told councillors. “Based on feedback from the Rogers team and the SDI marketing team that worked with Rogers and what staff witnessed during the broadcast the Haliburton Highlands had one of the best turnouts of any tour stop despite being the smallest location ever visited in terms of population. Both SDI marketing and the team at Rogers continue to send kudos and have said that the Haliburton Highlands set a new standard for the event. So we’re really really proud of that.”

The weekend’s festivities culminated with a live broadcast from Head Lake Park featuring TV personalties Ron MacLean and Tara Slone.

According to Virtanen’s report the Haliburton Highlands received significant exposure from the event.

“The Haliburton Highlands received 9.1 million consumer impressions over the course of the festival including pre/post mentions across broadcast print radio and social media” the report reads.

“Of that 6.5 million came from the Hockey Night in Canada which aired on Saturday Oct. 14 and included promotion of the show and 1.9 million from the Rogers Hometown Hockey pre-game and game broadcast with aired on Sunday Oct. 15. Looking at the total cost per consumer impression it would be at a cost of $0.001.”

Virtanen said there were a number of community benefactors including notably the Highland Storm Minor Hockey Association which received a $15000 donation from Scotiabank.

The hockey club received an additional $500 from Rogers as team players collected garbage and additional proceeds from a barbecue run by the local Lions and Rotary clubs. Virtanen also noted that Haliburton Hockey Haven which was featured in one of the broadcast’s segments had received a spike in traffic to its website and chief administrative officer Mike Rutter said restaurants in Haliburton were busy throughout the course of the weekend.

“We were kind of all waiting I think for this wrap up” said Algonquin Highlands Mayor Carol Moffatt adding the total was not the $25000 figure “that a number of people got very upset about without justification. It was unfortunate that there were some attacks on the whole process without ever having seen the final numbers. If it came in at 50 grand yes there’d be a bit of a reckoning but to not even wait until the final metrics were in I think was a bit unfair on the part of some people.”