Thursday, May 23, 2013
Brodsky Talks About Memorial Cup Attendance
Jack Brodsky is aware of the shots on social media about the empty blue seats at Credit Union Centre during this week's MasterCard Memorial Cup.
The attendance, or lack of, at 15,195-capacity CUC is a hot topic of conversation from those who can plainly see occupied seats mixing with waves of bare blue while watching on TV.
"We weren't expecting to sell the building out," Brodsky - the Blades' owner and Memorial Cup chairman - said Wednesday.
"But you can always use a couple-thousand more tickets (sold), that's for sure. I'd like to see us at 10,000 and north of that. But there's no disappointment - it's been great electricity in the building."
The situation truly is, for lack of a better cliche, glass half-full versus glass half-empty.
On one hand, the average attendance at CUC through six games so far is 8,993, the sixth-highest total in Cup history. If that number holds up, their overall attendance at tournament's end would be 80,937 - good for fourth all-time.
On the other hand, shouldn't tickets be scarce every time a Memorial Cup comes into town?
Grumblings have been heard about ticket prices, which for Wednesday's game between the Blades and Portland Winterhawks ranged from $66.25 (including service charges) to $113.75 in the lower bowl. Most upper-bowl tickets were $66.25, though $37.50 tickets could be had at the back of the arena.
London, hosting next year's Cup, seats 9,000 and has already sold approximately 7,000 ticket packages, with a similar pricing structure to Saskatoon.
"I think ticket prices are where they should be," Brodsky said. "This is the national championship; this is the top teams in Canada playing. If you compare it to some of the NHL exhibition games we have in Saskatoon and the quality of hockey there ... our prices aren't as high as some of those are. I think we're priced right."
Saskatoon surpassed the total attendance from last year's Memorial Cup in Shawinigan during the fifth game of this tournament, though that arena seats just 4,125 - much smaller than the comparatively-cavernous CUC.
Brodsky says the 2013 Cup event will turn a profit, but he also readily concedes he'd like to see more people enter the building for the three games that remain.
"We have a city our size with a 15,000-seat building, that's a somewhat unusual matchup," Brodsky said.
"Our building is fairly large. Obviously, we'd love to have the place sold out, we'd love to have more people come to the building. The ones who aren't coming are missing something, because the hockey's been outstanding. But you can't be disappointed. With the electricity in the building and the quality of hockey, it's been a lot of fun to be here."
When the Blades hosted the 1989 Memorial Cup, they drew 77,296 with a smaller facility, an average of 8,588. Both numbers were event records at the time.
(Courtesy Saskatoon Star-Phoenix)