Mid and East Antrim Borough Council is to spend around £2000 on two Game of Thrones signs at Knockdhu and Shilnavogy Valley.
The local authority is aiming to have the two signs erected in time for the launch of series six of the blockbuster fantasy epic on April 24, enabling Tourism Ireland to further promote the Game of Thrones product and filming locations in Northern Ireland.
The proposal came before a meeting of Mid and East Antrim’s Economic Growth and Development Committee on February 15, when councillors gave their permission to manufacture and install the signs. The motion was proposed by Alliance Councillor Robert Logan, and seconded by UUP Councillor Mark McKinty.
The local sign, to be situated at Linford car park, shows filming outside Cairncastle, which has often doubled for the lands north of Winterfell .
The main picture depicts a scene from the first series of the HBO series, when Lord Eddard ‘Ned’ Stark, played by Sean Bean, sentences and executes a deserter from the Night’s Watch to death.
The sign also includes smaller pictures of scenes shot during season five with Sansa Stark, played by Sophie Turner, and Lord Petyr Baelish, also known as Littlefinger, played by Aidan Gillen.
A council report advised members that “there are tourism, PR and marketing opportunities in being associated with the Game of Thrones branding and international marketing campaigns.”
It states: “Game of Thrones is produced by Home Box Office (HBO) and has proven to be a worldwide phenomenon, with 18.4 m viewers, 1.8 m Twitter followers and 13 m Facebook fans.”
“The show is hailed by Tourism NI as a showcase for Northern Ireland and as having a significant and positive effect on tourism.
“It is estimated that as many as 10 per cent of international visitors are influenced to choose their holiday destination by a positive perception of a location during on-screen viewing. Working with Northern Ireland Screen, who act as the liaison point for HBO, Mid and East Antrim Borough Council has been offered the opportunity to erect two signs at filming locations within the borough.”
The report revealed that the signs’ design is based on an approved HBO template and has been approved by Northern Ireland Screen on HBO’s behalf. It also hints that future signs may be considered in additional filming locations “with appropriate permissions.”