Attendance at Canada Games shatters expectations, organizers say
More than 60,000 spectators attended first week of ticketed events
Manitobans are loving the Canada Games, according to event organizers.
Attendance to events last week exceeded expectations with more than 60,000 spectators attending ticketed events, such as basketball, soccer and softball. The tally does not include non-ticketed events.
This week is off to a good start so far as well, a spokesperson for the Canada Games said Tuesday.
Team Manitoba has pulled in 21 medals, including a bronze for Maddy Mitchell in the 1,000-metre canoe/kayak event on Tuesday afternoon.
On Monday night, volleyball at Investors Group Athletic Centre saw standing room only as Team Manitoba faced off against Team Ontario. Attendance also reached capacity at the women's softball tournament Monday afternoon at John Blumberg Softball Complex.
Daily attendance has remained mostly constant with 1,000 to 2,000 people showing up every day per sport event, organizers said.
Last Tuesday, the Canada Games had to move the Team Manitoba and Team Ontario baseball game from Elmwood Giants Field to Shaw Park when about 1,100 — more than double the expected number of attendees — clamoured to see the game.
So far, 285,000 people from 88 countries have watched the competitions online.
"Considering that Winnipeg is the largest city to ever host the Canada Games, we have been hopeful that, given the size and reach of Winnipeg and the region, the 2017 Games would have the opportunity to attract impressive numbers. We are very hopeful," said a spokesperson for the Canada Games Council in a written statement.
"We can't wait to see how many new spectators take advantage of the opportunity for the remainder of the week."
Music also appears to be a big draw, with the Canada Games Festival at the Forks attracting crowds of between 9,500 and 10,000 people on several nights.
Officials with Canada Games said they cannot provide attendance numbers for past games.