Winnipeg mayor requests policy on free tickets
Winnipeg Mayor Sam Katz is asking his administration to develop a policy when it comes to politicians and free event tickets.
The controversy over tickets came to light this week after it was reported several Manitoba cabinet ministers received free Jets tickets from Crown corporations.
Finance Minister Stan Struthers said a policy is in the works that will now prohibit cabinet ministers from getting freebies
Katz said he's not aware if the city has a policy regarding such tickets, so he's asked the clerk's office to check.
The mayor said there didn't appear to be much of an issue before the arrival of the Jets for the 2011-2012 NHL season.
"No one seemed to care before. When there was the Moose or the Bombers or the Goldeyes, that wasn't an issue. And now it seems to be an issue because I guess, as we know today, demand exceeds supply," he said.
Jets tickets were hard to come by as season tickets sold out in 17 minutes and fans packed the MTS Centre from the first pre-season home game to the last one of the regular season.
The Manitoba Moose were the city's American Hockey League (AHL) team before the Jets landed in the city. They would typically draw about 6,000 to 8,000 fans per game.
They have since moved to the east coast and play as the St. John's IceCaps, a farm team for the Jets.
The Katz-owned Goldeyes, a member team of the American Association of Independent Professional Baseball, have an average attendance of about 6,000.
The CFL's Blue Bombers had struggled to fill the stands in recent years but a surge in 2011 led to many sellouts at Canad Inns Stadium.
Based on the popularity of the Jets and the Bombers, particularly with a new stadium set to open this fall for the Bombers, Katz believes there is good reason to get a policy in place around accepting free tickets.
"There seems to be validity and I think, as a result of everything that I've seen, I have brought it up with the clerk and we're going to put something in place and hopefully you'll see something coming to council in the near future," he said.