EDMONTON -- Alberta paid $4 million to National Hockey League Canada to advertise during the Stanley Cup Finals in its capital city.

The contract between Alberta Communications and Public Engagement (CPE) and the NHL ran from July 1 to Oct. 1.

“The NHL playoffs taking place in the Edmonton 'bubble,' including the Stanley Cup Finals, was a major opportunity to showcase all Alberta has to offer to millions of viewers outside our province. The contract included in-arena, traditional broadcast, and digital advertising over the entire run of the playoffs,” said David Sands, the department’s director of cross ministry initiatives.

“If you watched any of the NHL playoffs, you probably saw the ads.”

The government estimates hosting the NHL in its capital city created roughly 1,500 to 1,900 temporary jobs and generated between $47.5 million and $69 million in business sales.

Sands said it contributed $39 million to Alberta’s GDP – more than $20 million less than it was expected to.

However, he couldn’t say the government had previously publicly spoken about the deal, which was called a "unique partnership opportunity" in the contract.

During the selection process, both the Oilers Entertainment Group and Alberta government pitched the province’s then-low COVID-19 numbers, ability to set up an Olympic-style village with access to recreational activities and entertainment, and beautiful scenery in a promotional video criticized by the public for containing imagery from around the province but none from the to-be host city itself.

When the announcement was officially made July 10 – more than a week after the CPE contract began – Alberta Premier Jason Kenney attributed the successful bid to the province’s pandemic response.

“One of the core reasons the NHL is coming here as opposed to some of the big American cities that were offering subsidies and all kinds of hand outs is because we have the lowest level of infections and hospitalizations of any NHL city,” he said in a video posted to social media.

The CPE department provides ministries with public relations, marketing and communications services.