MONCTON – Moncton officially launched its bid to host the annual Canadian men’s curling championship, the Tim Hortons Brier, in 2020. It lost the bid to host the event in 2019 to Brandon, Man.
“We’re going to up our game on those things that Curling Canada told us we needed to improve,” said Jacques Robichaud, the President of the Board of Curl Moncton. “But we’re also going to up our game in other parts that they said they were satisfied with. We want to make sure there’s no question that the Brier comes to Moncton for 2020.”
“We intend to put all of our efforts behind the submission with the goal of seeing the Brier in Moncton’s new state of the art sports and entertainment centre,” said Mayor Dawn Arnold.
The committee in charge of the bid, for which Robichaud is chair, is now calling on residents of greater Moncton to deposit $50 for the full event package. Robichaud said the committee is following the example of St. John’s, N.L., which started the pre-sale practice when it hosted the Brier.
“When [St. John’s] did a presale, they pre-sold 2,100 tickets or deposits. So that’s what I’m saying is our target, for the time being, is 2,100,” he said.
“If we don’t get our numbers, it’s as simple as that, we don’t get the event.”
Robichaud said some people have already made their $50 deposits and that the organizers received a “good” number of pre-sales last year when Moncton made a bid to host the Brier in 2019. Similar to last year, if the city doesn’t win, deposits will be returned to buyers.
Robichaud is mum on the numbers of pre-sold packages this year and last year, as well as details of how Moncton’s bid has improved. But he said it took around six months in preparation last year. This year, they can repurpose much of that work.
“We don’t want to give [the other competing cities] any indication of how we’re doing until we’ve put our bid in,” he said.
Moncton is competing with St. Catharines and Kingston in Ontario, and Prince George in B.C. Curling Canada expects the event to create an economic impact worth between $12 million and $15 million in the host city over the span of 10 days.
John Wishart, the CEO of the Greater Moncton Chamber of Commerce, said hosting the Brier in the Downtown Events Centre would not only stimulate consumer spending in the city but also raise Moncton’s profile.
“There’s the lead up to it, then during the week there’s going to be a lot of spending in town – hotels, food and drinks, inside the venue,” he said. “Beyond that, there’s a big benefit for Moncton’s profile. It’s a nationally televised event. It reaches people across the country. They’d get to see the new events centre and think, ‘this is a pretty nice venue, I may go back to Moncton for something.’ ”
The Brier has a broadcast reach of seven million people. Robichaud said if Moncton wins the bid, he’s expecting many more than the 80,000 people the 2009 Ford World Men Curling Championship attracted at the Moncton Coliseum.
“We could’ve sold more tickets but we didn’t have the room. We’ll have the room here [at the Downtown Events Centre]. We’ll be able to accommodate more people in peak times,” he said.
If Moncton wins the bid, the whole tournament will take place in the new Downtown Events Centre that’s set to open this fall. It already has concerts by country singer Keith Urban and rock band Chicago in September. The arena has a capacity to seat up to 10,000 people.