VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – Now that it’s been officially announced that Seattle is getting an NHL team by 2021, there’s hope for a slight boost in tourism locally.
While there are always a few visiting fans in the stands at Rogers Arena, those in the tourism industry are hoping to see larger groups travel to Vancouver once the Seattle team gets going in 2021.
“Sports rivalries are terrific for tourism because fans are passionate, they want to see the team play,” said Ty Speer, President and CEO of Tourism Vancouver. “We’re so close to each other, I just think it’s ready-made for us to have a great rivalry and have a lot of people come up from Seattle to cheer on their team against the Canucks.”
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On a Whitecaps game night, Seattle Sounders fans are usually quite visible, but due to the Canuck’s geographic isolation from other NHL teams, it’s rare to see larger groups of visiting fans.
Speer said he’s optimistic the new Seattle team will be well supported, pointing to the success of a ticket drive held ahead of the NHL awarding the city the new franchise.
“I think what we saw with the season ticket uptake in Seattle when they wanted to get a team shows that they’re going to have a huge number of fans,” he added. “I just think we’re going to get visitors coming up here and from 2021 we’ll see an incremental lift in tourism for sure.”
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Seattle is already an important market for attracting tourists to Vancouver, Speer said, adding the new team just adds one more reason for people to visit.
“For us, Seattle is already an important market. We’re getting the Vancouver word out now in Seattle, we’ll continue to do that. Now, we just got another story to tell.”
The trash talk is already on, with Washington State Governor Jay Inslee warning in a Tweet that Vancouver’s goalie could be at risk of sunburn from the goal light.
B.C. Premier John Horgan responded saying it’s actually Seattle’s goalie that will be at risk of getting a sunburn because they’ll be out golfing instead of participating in the playoffs.
Won't be as bad as the sunburn your goalie's going to get from playing golf after the regular season's over.