Whiteout street-party planning in high gear

The whiteout street parties outside Winnipeg Jets playoff games last year

generated about $2.2 million in positive media for the city, reaching nearly a quarter of a billion people.

Get ready for Round 2.

Officials have begun planning for more street parties now that the hockey team officially clinched a playoff berth last Saturday.

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The whiteout street parties outside Winnipeg Jets playoff games last year

generated about $2.2 million in positive media for the city, reaching nearly a quarter of a billion people.

Get ready for Round 2.

Officials have begun planning for more street parties now that the hockey team officially clinched a playoff berth last Saturday.

But organizers say fans will have to wait at least another week for details.

“We’re still considering all options,” said Matt Schaubroeck, spokesman for Economic Development Winnipeg (EDW).

Winnipeg Jet fans celebrate at Portage and Main in downtown Winnipeg after the Winnipeg Jets defeated the Minnesota Wild in game five of their NHL playoff series to win the first round 4-1 in Winnipeg on last April.

THE CANADIAN PRESS/JOHN WOODS

Winnipeg Jet fans celebrate at Portage and Main in downtown Winnipeg after the Winnipeg Jets defeated the Minnesota Wild in game five of their NHL playoff series to win the first round 4-1 in Winnipeg on last April.

One unanswered question is whether fans will need tickets to get into the street parties, as they did for parties near the end of the Jets playoff run last year.

Behind the whiteout

Work crews remove temporary fencing after a whiteout street party last May.

Some highlights behind the scenes at last year’s parties, as compiled by EDW, include:

– 5 large mobile screens, the largest one being 23 feet tall and 39 feet long;

– 2 kilometres of fibre optic cable run each event;

– 7,090 feet of fencing – the largest single event requirement in the supplier’s history

Some highlights behind the scenes at last year’s parties, as compiled by EDW, include:

– 5 large mobile screens, the largest one being 23 feet tall and 39 feet long;

– 2 kilometres of fibre optic cable run each event;

– 7,090 feet of fencing – the largest single event requirement in the supplier’s history

– 165 portable toilets

– 8 hours of setup and 3-4 hours of teardown each event day, with approximately 100 staff working during each phase

– 15 food vendors serving a variety of local delicacies and comfort foods

– More than 26,500 kg of food collected for Winnipeg Harvest

The tickets were free but had to be obtained through Ticketmaster on a first come-first serve basis. Many people loaded up on the maximum number of tickets and street party crowds shrank significantly under the policy change.

As well, the talk last year was that the yet-to-be-completed True North Square would be the headquarters of future street parties. The square is now completed.

Again, Schaubroeck couldn’t get into specifics.

“I know that had been the thought before,” he said. “I don’t want to speak out of turn but last year we saw bigger crowds than True North Square can accommodate so we want to make sure we’re putting the best fan experience forward.”

True North Sports and Entertainment declined comment.

The official opening of True North Square's public plaza last September. The facility wasn't available for the Jets playoff run last season because it hadn't been completed yet.

MIKE DEAL / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS FILES

The official opening of True North Square’s public plaza last September. The facility wasn’t available for the Jets playoff run last season because it hadn’t been completed yet.

Last year’s Jet street parties were one of the largest-ever multi-day public gatherings in the city’s history. There was a total of nine street parties drawing about 120,500 fans downtown.

That doesn’t include the 15,000 people watching inside Bell MTS Place, or thousands watching in one of the city’s restaurants or bars.

“You can’t beat the publicity for the city, Schaubroeck said.

“It’s enhanced our reputation,” he said. “When people are writing about Winnipeg in Bloomberg and the New York Times and the Globe and Mail, they’re not just writing about the Jets but about the city and its reputation and its energy.”

EDW estimates it amounts to about $2.2 million in earned media value. It’s also helped economic development people promote the city.

“We’ve been incorporating that messaging (the whiteout parties) as we go forward to attract businesses and talent and investment and tourists and conferences. This is now part of our narrative,” Schaubroeck said.

But there was also a cost of about $2.167 million for things like production, policing and transit.

Of that cost, True North Sports and Entertainment paid a total of $1,084,900, which includes $931,900 of production costs and a $153,000 contribution to the City of Winnipeg to assist with policing and transit costs.

Economic Development Winnipeg paid $120,000, while the remaining $962,000 costs were absorbed by the city.

bill.redekop@freepress.mb.ca

Bill Redekop

Bill Redekop
Rural Reporter

Bill Redekop has been covering rural issues since 2001.

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