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Game of Thrones is a television juggernaut. The show has made a ton of money for HBO thanks to having a worldwide audience. However, it's not just HBO that is reaping in the benefits from Game of Thrones. In fact, Northern Ireland is making a tidy sum thanks to a combination of the series shooting there and tourism. And when we say tidy, we really mean huge. Since production began in 2010, Northern Ireland estimates Game of Thrones has brought in £150m in revenue for the area, and that number doesn't seem to be slowing down.
£150m is around $200 million in terms of US dollars. Spread over six years the amount per year might be a little less impressive, but it's still a big one. Plus, it's revenue that would never have been available to the people of Northern Ireland if it hadn't allowed Game of Thrones to film in the area. Numbers from Northern Ireland Screen project that when the organization helped to fund the pilot, costing the group £3.2m, they earned £21.2m in "expenditure on goods and services" in the economy.
Tourism has certainly helped. A few years back, New Zealand started seeing huge tourism related to where the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit movies filmed. People also flock to Highclere Castle, where Downton Abbey was filmed until it recently ended its run on PBS and ITV. People have begun to head to Northern Ireland to see where popular scenes in Game of Thrones have been filmed. In fact, there are more than 25 companies in Northern Ireland that do tours of Game of Thrones shooting locations and that sort of ilk. All of that translates into more dollars for area businesses.
Of course, in order to entice Game of Thrones to choose Northern Ireland as a filming location, the area gives the hit HBO fantasy drama a slew of tax breaks. Northern Ireland Screen actually helps to fund the series, but the organization tells the BBC that more money has been made than any tax breaks would have yielded. Northern Ireland Screen also says that the excess money is spent on the people who live in the area, as well as different services.
Game of Thrones recently mentioned that production in Northern Ireland is going to be delayed now that winter has come to Westeros. Fewer episodes are set to be produced, as well, for Season 7, which means there should be less time spent shooting on location. Still, if Game of Thrones lives on in popularity as we expect it to, the series will probably be contributing tourism dollars for years after the HBO drama finally finishes out its run.
To see what else we know about the upcoming seventh season, head here.