Brier numbers are good
by Joe Pavia
Ottawa embraces Brier with numbers
With a sold out final assured Sunday night, Ottawa Tim Hortons Brier attendance should hover around the 115,000 mark. The last time Ottawa hosted the attendance was listed as 154,136. There are a few things to keep in mind however when comparing 2001 with 2016. Fewer and fewer people attend the event for the entire 11 days like they did in the past. The attendance figures also include comp tickets. In 2001 many people suspected that plenty of free passes were given out. Just like the concert industry that is choosing smaller venues Curling Canada is looking at smaller venues as well like Ottawa and next year in St. John’s.
It’s just not the glory
Brier participation means earing both Canadian Team Ranking System points as well as cash. The champion gets $225,000 that includes Sports Canada funding of $144,000 for two years and 88.679 points.; second gets – $61,000 (69.676 points), third- $51,000 (53.840 points) and fourth – $41,000 (38.005 points). Each team placing five to eighth gets $10,800, ninth to twelfth earns $5,800 each and thirteen to fifteenth leave with $3,200 each (3.167 points).
Patch closes early on final day
Usually open until late at night the famous Patch is closing at 8:30. Historically not many people actually watch the final in the Patch. The major reason is almost 2900 kilometers though. That’s the distance from Ottawa to Swift Current SK where the Ford World Women’s championship begins Saturday. However they start setting up the Patch March 16.
The escalation of beer
Beer plays a big part at the Brier in more ways that one.
The Patch purveys Molson products. TD Place sells Labatt products.
The stadium concession stands have sold beer all week long. Come the championship weekend TD Place added strategically placed portable beer bars. On the final Sunday barley sandwich sellers pulled large coolers on wheels behind them and held cans of beer in their hand while yelling “Cold Beer! Cold Beer!”.
The sudden death of Patch volunteer Kirsten Maither just prior to the event’s start prompted volunteer bar manager Chris Walsh to ask fellow volunteers if they wanted to pool any tips they made and give them to charity.
The three charities were named Sunday-The Purple Ribbon campaign, to honour Craig Savill, the Kirsten Maither Tribute Fund and CHEO. The exact amount is not known yet.
Food and beverage
Well Ottawa curling fans you did it. According to Ken Lauzon, the food and beverage manager, the Patch’s initial 40,000 tallboy can order total was exceeded. The final won’t be known until the Patch closes. TD Place Chef Alain Bellemare said this event was unlike their usual events. The most popular items were mac and cheese and shave beef sandwiches., not pizza and dogs although they sold just over 4,000 hot dogs.
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