Thursday, 12 March 2009

Scotiabank Place Press Release: Tickets Sold Update

Similar to last year, first blush look at attendance at the CIS Nationals immediately invokes some skepticism given the numbers being thrown around. The first press release announcing pre-tournament ticket sales shows an eye-popping 64,000 tickets sold already - very encouraging on the surface. But like last year, without making some assumptions these numbers are very difficult to break down accurately on a session-by-session basis, which has been how attendance figures have been reported historically in Halifax. In fact, virtually everyone I spoke to questions these numbers as misleading.

Geoff Publow, Director of Strategic Development at Scotiabank Place explains that the numbers reflect "each game counting as one ticket" despite the fact that tickets were sold either in a 10 game tournament package or individual two-game session packages (Friday afternoon, Friday night, Saturday night, Sunday). This means that even though each session has two games and one individual session ticket gets you in to those two games, in the overall count of over 64,000, one ticket counts as two in the overall attendance figures.

The very approachable Publow was very forthcoming with trying to help breakdown the attendance figures to be able to do a valid comparison with other Nationals events, starting with news that about 2,000 full tournament packages (for all five 2 game sessions) have been purchased thus far, slightly below last year's 2,500 such purchases. In all, 32,000 "hard tickets" have been purchased for the 10 game event - meaning on average, about 6,350 tickets for each of the 5 sessions. However, it is likely that not all sessions will be evenly attended; if we estimate about 2,500 fans at Saturday's consolation semi-finals (2,000 from 10 game package + another 500 friends and family for these non-championship round games) and then possibly about 4,000 fans for Friday's early quarter-finals, this leaves an estimated 25,000 tickets sold for the remaining 3 sessions (Friday night quarter-finals, Saturday semi-finals and Sunday championship). And this is before the walk-up crowd.

The 32,000 hard tickets sold thus far is about 8,500 less than the 40,500 sold across 5 sessions/10 games last year, so there is still some work to do to match the inaugural event. With the Ottawa market's nutorious tendancy for being a walk-up type audience, Publow is confident that last season's numbers can be eclipsed. He expects more than 8,000 fans to attend tomorrow's evening session in which both local teams are participating plus a St. FX team with many local, loyal alumni expecta to swell the crowd even further.

Publow also stated that the very successful Capital Hoops Classic tends to attract significantly more students than the CIS Nationals, something they are trying to improve. The certainty that a cross-town rivalry, Panda-like game brings apparently is more appealing to students and secretly some in the organizing committee are likely hoping for a Saturday night all OUA East semi-final affair which could bring out more students from both local campuses.

All in all, Publow offers that "Scotiabank Place is thrilled with their CIS basketball events" and the Nationals success continues to grow with sponsorships up by 20% this season over last even in the face of an economic downturn. Publow estimates that this year's event should realize "a small profit" after "taking a small loss last season". As for future events, Scotiabank did not participate in the latest round of bids, ultimately won by Halifax for 2011 and 2012, but Publow did not preclude looking at bidding for the Nationals beyond that. "We purposely did not bid for the next 2 years, hoping that other groups around the country could help build on our success. However, we have a very strong partnership with both Carleton and the CIS and we would strongly consider working with these partners again for future events".

More than 64,000 Tickets Sold for 2009 CIS Men's Basketball

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - March 12, 2009) - In conjunction with Canadian Interuniversity Sport and Scotiabank Place, the host organizing committee for the 2009 CIS Final 8 Men's Basketball Championship presented by Milk announced that more than 64,000 tickets have already been sold for the tournament, which is being held this weekend at Scotiabank Place in Ottawa. Fans are encouraged to purchase tickets early in order to avoid anticipated lineups at the Scotiabank Place box office.

The top-ranked Carleton University Ravens (Ottawa) attempt to return to the championship game for the sixth time in seven years when they begin play on Friday evening against the St. Francis Xavier University X-Men (Antigonish, N.S.) at 8 p.m. The tournament gets underway on Friday at 12:30 p.m. when the second-seed University of Calgary Dinos oppose the seventh-seed Concordia University Stingers (Montreal). The fifth-seed University of Ottawa Gee-Gees return to the national tournament after a one-year hiatus and oppose the fourth-seed University of Western Ontario Mustangs (London, Ont.) on Friday at 6 p.m. in an all-Ontario matchup.

Single-session tickets, which include entry to both of the session's games, start at $10. Full tournament packages, which include a ticket to each of the 10 tournament games, are also on sale, starting at $50 per package.

Friday's games at the CIS championship are single elimination matchups with the four winners advancing to Saturday evening's semi-final double-header games at 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. The consolation semi-final double-header takes place earlier on Saturday with games at 12:30 p.m. and 2:30 p.m.

The lone Sunday session features the consolation final game for fifth place at 1:30 p.m. and the championship game at 4 p.m. All five sessions (10 games in total) will take place at Ottawa's Scotiabank Place.

Tickets for the 2009 CIS Final 8 Men's Basketball Championship, presented by Milk, are on sale now and can be purchased by visiting, by phone at 613-599-FANS (3267) or 1-877-788-FANS (3267); in person at The Sens Store at Rideau Centre and Place d'Orleans, any Ottawa Sports Experts location, Centrepointe Theatre and at the Scotiabank Place box office.

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