Denis Coderre says it was a mistake not to release Formula E ticket numbers sooner

Despite the fact that at least 20,000 tickets for this summer’s Formula E race were given away free, Denis Coderre says he’s happy with the way the event unfolded.

Incumbent mayor says this summer's electric car race was a success, despite number of free tickets given

Despite the fact that at least 20,000 tickets for this summer’s Formula E race were given away free, Denis Coderre says he’s happy with the way the event unfolded. But, he said, the ticket information should have been made public sooner. (Charles Contant/CBC)

Denis Coderre says it was a mistake not to release the ticket sale figures for this summer's Formula E right away.

"It was way too long, we should have provided the numbers, but clearly it was a success," Coderre, who is running for a second term as Montreal mayor, told CBC News this morning.

For months, Coderre has dodged questions about how many people actually paid to attend the race, which took place July 28 and 29.

The numbers were originally supposed to come out after the election, but yesterday the organizer, Montreal it's electric, revealed that 20,000 tickets to the event were given away for free.

The remaining 25,000 were either sold to the public or under agreements with partners and sponsors.

It's not clear if any of those partners and sponsors bought their tickets at a discount price.

Coderre refuted reports that only 5,000 ticketholders paid full price.

'Always room for improvement,' Coderre says

This year's race had a $24-million price tag.

Coderre said if re-elected, he plans to host the event again next year in the same location. But he says improvements will be made including the possibility of creating a citizen's committee and better communication with local businesses.

"There's always room for improvement. When Paris had it the first year it didn't go really really well and the second one was a great success," he said.

His main rival Valérie Plante has said that if she were elected, she would hold the race at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve or cancel it altogether, if possible.

Coderre said it would have cost an additional $15 million to host it at the track.

His administration has, so far, committed to spending $30 million in order to host the event for three years. Montreal is believed to be the only city on the Formula E circuit that has spent public money on hosting a race.

The move to make the ticket information public came as questions mounted on the campaign trail about the figures. Up until yesterday, journalists and city councillors had been stonewalled in their attempts to get the numbers.

Some residents and business owners who live in the eastern part of downtown Montreal, where the race was held, were not happy about how the event was handled.

With files from Lauren McCallum

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