A nine-day sporting event attracting Canada’s top female curlers will pump millions of dollars into the Red Deer region — long after the last rock is thrown.

A nine-day sporting event attracting Canada’s top female curlers will pump millions of dollars into the Red Deer region — long after the last rock is thrown.

Red Deer set to reap rewards as Scotties host

A nine-day sporting event attracting Canada’s top female curlers will pump millions of dollars into the Red Deer region — long after the last rock is thrown.

A nine-day sporting event attracting Canada’s top female curlers will pump millions of dollars into the Red Deer region — long after the last rock is thrown.

Scotties Tournament of Hearts will run Feb. 18 to 26 at the Centrium — bringing scores of athletes, coaches, trainers and curling fans from across the country.

In 2004, Red Deer hosted its first Scotties competition, drawing 112,886 spectators. The city achieved the second-highest attendance in the history of the event, runner-up only to the 1998 tourney in Regina.

Ticket sales alone, at present, show that just under 82,000 people are coming to Red Deer.

Sherri Ryckman, chairperson of the organizing committee, expects thousands more will snap up tickets with less than a month to go. And with other events, including daily live entertainment at the Parkland Pavilion, she anticipates the total attendance will meet or exceed the 2004 attendance figures.

The last economic impact study done on the Scotties revealed that in 2009, Victoria generated about $12 million.

“We would expect that just over $1 million a day would come into our community during the nine-day event,” said Ryckman. “So we would end up with about $10 million to $12 million of economic impact.”

Individuals from around Central Alberta have approached Ryckman to say they have relatives coming for the Scotties.

“Those kinds of things will increase awareness in all the communities,” said Ryckman. “And those (visitors staying with relatives) will be going back and forth from the communities. And we have a lot of volunteers from the outlying areas as well.”

Ryckman noted the event isn’t just about curling. Even non-curling fans will be able to enjoy the city and take in the live entertainment at Westerner Park, as well as restaurants and other events off-site.

Rick More, manager of membership and community relations for Red Deer Chamber of Commerce, said the city hasn’t had a national event like this in a while, so the Scotties is very welcomed among businesses.

“In 2004, we had more than 100,000 seats sold and we’re about 80 per cent there,” said More. “So there will be great spinoffs for restaurants, shopping malls and hotels. Hotels will be sold out. A lot are right now.”

More said the benefits are long-lasting for Central Alberta curling rinks, too. Rinks and junior curling programs receive financial investment as a result of proceeds from the national tournament.

“And then you get media attention through TSN,” said More, regarding the sports television network. “So that’s good for Red Deer.”

More said there are no drawbacks to this event. There are far-reaching benefits from hosting the Scotties, he added.

“We have over 500 volunteers, so there’s more community involvement,” said More.

Howard Thompson, land and economic development manager for the City of Red Deer, said an event of this magnitude will result in positive impacts for the overall trading area, which essentially is Central Alberta.

That’s because visitors and others use the services of various hospitality, tourism-type businesses in different locations, he said.

Plus, with all the television exposure, Red Deer will be able to showcase “how proud we are of ourselves.”

“And who knows what the future will bring in terms of tourism and business opportunities for our community,” Thompson said.

Tourism Red Deer and Scotties organizers have formulated a way to help make it easier for visitors to spend their cash at local businesses and attractions.

They have partnered on creating a mobile application that can be downloaded on people’s smart phones.

The free application will get going at the launch of the Scotties tournament and will be promoted on a card provided when people walk into the curling venue, said Tourism Red Deer executive director Liz Taylor.

“It’s a mobile app for the web that will direct people to attractions,” said Taylor. The app information may include everything from shopping to special offers in town.

There will also be a Scotties mobile application providing scores, draws and other information.

When asked about the economic impact on Red Deer, Mayor Morris Flewwelling spoke up without any hesitation.

“I know what it’s going to do,” said Flewwelling. “We’ll see direct economic stimulus through the visitors, curlers, coaches who are coming in large numbers. They’ll increase our hotel occupancy, our restaurant foot-throughs. They’ll increase our spending of goods.”

Flewwelling said the economic spinoffs continue for a long time beyond the last curling shot. It’s almost like an echo, he said.

Visitors who come to the city for the week-long tournament may want to return in the summer. And the scores of spectators watching the national curling championships on television will also see Red Deer being showcased, piquing their interest in coming, Flewwelling said.

“There’s the boom in the lead-up to the event with equipment (needed) and promotions, and then there’s the actual event with the activities and spending — and then there’s a large group of people who will want to come back.”

ltester@bprda.wpengine.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Black Press File Photo
Valentine’s Day shooting in central Alberta leaves one man in hospital and another in custody

19-year-old Francis Edward Nepoose from Maskwacis has been charged with attempted murder.

Minister Rick Wilson poses with Katie at the Boys and Girls Club of Wetaskiwin, both wearing her Pink Shirt Day design. Facebook/ Boys and Girls Club of Wetaskiwin.
Be kind and wear pink for Pink Shirt Day

Katie with the Boys and Girls Club of Wetaskiwin created this year’s Pink Shirt Day design.

Bookings for COVID-19 vaccines for people age 75 or older start Wednesday. (File photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Updated: Delays for seniors booking for vaccine appointments

Phone lines were swamped and the Alberta Health Services website crashed on… Continue reading

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is seen with Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland and Foreign Affairs Minister Marc Garneau as they meet virtually with United States President Joe Biden from his office on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Tuesday February 23, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Biden on China’s detention of two Michaels: ‘Human beings are not bartering chips’

But the White House offered no hints about how it might help secure their release

Meteor spotted over Edmonton, Alta., on Feb. 22, 2021 by several, who took to social media to share their surveillance camera captures. (@KixxAxe/Twitter)
VIDEO: Fireball meteor streaks across sky, spotted by early-morning risers in Alberta, B.C.

Videos of the quick streak of light flashing across the sky before 6:30 a.m. MST

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney makes his way to the chamber in Edmonton on Friday, March 20, 2020. Kenney says a recent bump in energy prices in the third quarter of the budget is helping the bottom line as his government prepares to introduce its 2021-22 budget. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Higher oil prices boosting Alberta’s bottom line as budget looms Thursday: Kenney

EDMONTON — Premier Jason Kenney says a recent bump in energy prices… Continue reading

Montreal Canadiens head coach Claude Julien gives instructions during practice in Brossard, Que., Tuesday, July 14, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
CP NewsAlert: Montreal Canadiens fire head coach Claude Julien

Assistant coach appointed interim head coach

(Photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS)
NFB hiring new execs to lead anti-racist practices, forge ties with Indigenous groups

TORONTO — The National Film Board of Canada is creating two key… Continue reading

The cast of “Schitt’s Creek” pose for a photo after winning the Award for Best Comedy Series at the Canadian Screen Awards in Toronto on March 31, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young
‘Schitt’s Creek’ earns third consecutive ensemble win at ACTRA Toronto Awards

Tamara Podemski won outstanding performance by a female on ‘Coroner’

NBA chooses All-Star reserves, with Zion among first-timers

NBA chooses All-Star reserves, with Zion among first-timers

FILE - In this March 9, 2020, file photo, New York Yankees' Clint Frazier runs to the dugout during a spring training baseball game in Clearwater, Fla. Brett Gardner's return to the Yankees won't displace Clint Frazier from taking over as New York's starting left fielder. Manager Aaron Boone said Saturday, Feb. 20, 2021, that the 26-year-old Frazier remained his first choice in left while cautioning developments during a season could alter intentions. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio, File)
Yankees finalize deals for Brett Gardner, Justin Wilson

Yankees finalize deals for Brett Gardner, Justin Wilson

Jon Rahm tees off on the 10th hole in front of cardboard cutout fans during the first round of the Genesis Invitational golf tournament at Riviera Country Club, Thursday, Feb. 18, 2021, in the Pacific Palisades area of Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ryan Kang)
West Coast behind, more fans about to show up on PGA Tour

West Coast behind, more fans about to show up on PGA Tour

Most Read