Judging by the crowds I see on television, attendance looks kinda sparse in Edmonton this year, which must concern the CCA honchos a bit because Edmonton is the flagship venue for the Brier.
Through 10 draws, just over 70,000 fans had attended the Brier. Attendance will pick up this weekend and the final should be close to being sold out.
However, it will be doubtful that attendance will be over the 200,000 that organizers are shooting for, which is also a long ways off from the almost 282,000 that came in 2005.
(As an aside: you can bet that Brier organizers will pull out all stops to say they hit 200,000, even if it means a little creative accounting.)
Monday night it looked really empty in the building, as attendance dipped to under 6,000.
Why the low crowds?:
1. No Alberta. Well Alberta is here, but Kevin Martin and his team is struggling. It's no fun to watch a train wreck. This has to account for a loss of 20,000 tickets. If by all miracles Team Martin makes the playoffs or even a tie-breaker, all that praying by the CCA and organizers will have paid off.
2. I know I keep beating this horse, but watching curling on television is getting to be a lot better than in person. While attendance numbers are down, television numbers are strong. Old people like curling. Old people like to be in their house after 6 p.m.
3. NHL.If the lockout dragged on and closed down the season Edmonton sports fans would be desperate for big-time action. Instead, the NHL came back in January and took away the media and sporting spotlight from the Brier when organizers were out selling tickets and building momentum.
When the Brier was held in Edmonton last time the NHL season went kaput. That has to account for a loss of ticket sales.
The Brier will be played at the 6,400-seat Kamloops Interior Savings Centre next year. It will be interesting to see if smaller is better.
Top attendance at Brier
|2005||Rexall Place (Edmonton)||281,985|
|2000||Saskatchewan Place (Saskatoon)||248,793|
|2009||Pengrowth Saddledome (Calgary)||246,126|
|2002||Pengrowth Saddledome (Calgary)||245,296|
|1999||Skyreach Centre (Edmonton)||242,887|
|2004||Saskatchewan Place (Saskatoon)||238,129|
|1997||CAI Saddledome (Calgary)||223,322|
|2008||MTS Centre (Winnipeg)||165,075|
|2003||Metro Centre (Halifax)||158,414|
|2001||Civic Centre (Ottawa)||154,136|
|1989||Saskatchewan Place (Saskatoon)||151,538|
|1998||Winnipeg Arena (Winnipeg)||147,017|
|1994||Centrium (Red Deer)||130,625|
|1993||Civic Centre (Ottawa)||130,076|
|1996||Riverside Coliseum (Kamloops)||127,746|
|2006||Brandt Centre (Regina)||125,971|
|1995||Metro Centre (Halifax)||121,896|