March 13, 2014 - 9:49 AM
KAMLOOPS — The Kamloops Brier had the lowest attendance in 25 years, but officials say it’s not as bad as it sounds.
After all is said and done, the 2014 Tim Horton’s Brier attracted 65,005 people to the stands. That's almost half of the 1996 Kamloops Brier attendance, and a whopping 125,108 people short of last year’s event.
While these numbers may disappoint some, it doesn't worry event planners or sponsors — in their eyes, it was nothing but a success.
Norm Daley said the numbers look low on paper, but attendance was tracked differently than previous years.
"Instead of counting the number of tickets sold, we counted the number of scans at the door," Daley said.
Daley said, while many people bought tickets for the entire event, they may have decided to only attend a few draws. This is where the difference arises.
Daley said this year’s event didn't count the no-shows, and instead only looked at the “butts in the seats”.
While he couldn't say for sure exactly how the new recording method changed results, he said the event was a success and his expectations were met.
Lee Morris, Chief Executive Officer with Kamloops Tourism said she believes a number of factors may have contributed to the low attendance numbers, including the choice of advertising.
She said they tried to focus their campaigns on younger crowds, hoping to attract a new demographic. In the end however, it was the older demographic that filled the stands and she suspects the just aren't travelling like they used to.
“Many are opting to watch the event on television rather than hopping on a plane to see it in person,” Morris said.
This idea could be backed up by the events televised ratings.
The 2014 Tim Horton’s Brier had more Canadian viewers than the Winter Olympics which aired just last month Daley said, noting over a million people tuned in.
While television viewers don't bring money to Kamloops, they receive over 60 hours of exposure to the area which may boost tourism.
And the event did attract some out-of-towners who had nothing but great reviews of Kamloops, Morris said. She spent her days during the event, stationed at a booth in the airport, personally greeting those coming to the city.
Daley said the Brier also brought with it a boost to the downtown economy, nearly filling hotels in the area, booking up restaurants, and raising traffic to local stores.
Overall, the event itself brought about $225,000 to Kamloops which will be split between the Kamloops sports society and the McArthur Island and Kamloops curling clubs.
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2014