SEAN HATCHARD TIMES & TRANSCRIPT
Organizers behind the bid to bring the 2019 Brier to Moncton are putting on one final push.
There’s just four weeks to go before Moncton submits its bid for the 2019 national men’s curling championship to Curling Canada by June 30.
Moncton launched the campaign in early April with a quest to pre-sell 2,000 full event ticket packages for a $100 deposit fee.
But bid committee chairman Jacques Robichaud announced this week that the deposit fee has now been cut in half to $50.
“We have been getting for a while now some reaction from people that they felt that it was a bit high,” said Robichaud, also vice-president of Curl Moncton.
“We had initially thought that $100 was reasonable, but we had been getting some feedback from the curling community and from the community in general that, ‘You guys maybe should have gone at 50’ and to be honest, yes we should have gone at 50 from the start.
“But here we are. We have almost four weeks left in our ticket sale campaign. It’s never too late to change and we’re giving people the opportunity to put $50 down now instead of the $100.”
Pre-selling tickets is a strategy first used by St. John’s, N.L., two years ago in its successful bid to host this year’s Brier. Its organizing group sold 2,100 ticket packages before presenting the bid – and Curling Canada was impressed.
Robichaud said pre-selling tickets is now a part of Curling Canada’s application bid process.
He declined to reveal the total number of tickets packages purchased for the Moncton bid.
“It’s going well, but we still need more numbers,” he said.
“We still need more people to get in their deposit and get a person in a seat. That’s why we brought the price down. We need more people and we’re hoping that this will bring more people to put their deposits down.”
Those who have already paid a $100 deposit fee for a ticket package have three options – they can keep the status quo, with the $100 going towards the balance of a ticket package; they can choose to double up and add a second ticket package; or they can receive a $50 reimbursement.
Ticket package prices have not been set.
That will be done in conjunction with Curling Canada, only if the Moncton bid is successful.
“All we’re trying to do is get people in the seats to be able to get Curling Canada to recognize that the community in general is going to support our bid,” Robichaud said.
“The more people we have in the seats with our pre-sell, the more it will help convince Curling Canada that we’re deemed a place that they want to bring the Brier to.”
With four weeks remaining in the campaign, Robichaud has a clear message to curling fans.
“By all means please put your deposit in and as soon as possible,” he said.
“Without the right numbers on this, Curling Canada isn’t going to bring the Brier to Moncton.”
Deposits will be fully refunded should Moncton’s bid not be accepted.
Robichaud noted a report from St. John’s City Hall last week that indicated this year’s Brier added as much as $15 million to the city’s economy.
The pre-sale of ticket packages is just one part of Moncton’s bid document.
If the bid is successful, the 2019 Brier will be played at Moncton’s new downtown events centre.
Moncton has a rich history of hosting national and international curling events.
The city played host to the world men’s championship in 1980 and 2009 and previously hosted the Brier in 1956 and 1985.
Other major curling competitions that took place in Moncton included the 1975 MacDonalds Lassie Canadian women’s championship (now called the Scotties Tournament of Hearts), the 1990 Moncton 100 International Shootout, an event that introduced the four-rock rule – otherwise known as the Moncton Rule – and the 2000 Canadian junior men’s and women’s championships.
Moncton hosted the first ever Canadian under-18 boys and girls championships in April.