True North to issue 10K more tickets than capacity at next whiteout
Owners betting on no-shows at Sunday's street party for Winnipeg Jets fans
If attendance jumps at the next Winnipeg Jets whiteout, more than 10,000 hockey fans with tickets to the street party could be turned away.
True North Sports and Entertainment is issuing 37,500 free tickets to Sunday's whiteout while capacity remains capped at 27,000 people.
Kevin Donnelly, senior vice-president with True North Sports and Entertainment, said the company is expecting no-shows as was seen at the two previous ticketed whiteout parties.
"We know that 100 per cent of the people won't take advantage of the ticket," Donnelly said Thursday. "There's always someone who gets ill or has a flat tire."
Of the 37,500 free tickets to Sunday's whiteout party, True North is setting aside 5,000 tickets for pickup at the box office. Hockey fans can simply walk into Bell MTS Place and ask for a ticket.
The company is also limiting how many tickets can be redeemed at once, both online and in person, to four per transaction.
Whereas previously no tickets were required to enter the whiteout viewing parties, True North introduced tickets last Friday to help the company anticipate the number of attendees and plan better, said Donnelly.
The new scheme came under some criticism when 25,000 free tickets to Games 1 and 2 viewing parties were quickly scooped up online and then sold by scalpers for a price.
Yet even after the company issued more tickets for Monday's game — in total 36,000 free tickets spoken for — only 11,000 people showed up to the party. That's down by about half from the party's peak attendance during Game 6 against the Nashville Predators when 21,000 hockey fans showed up.
Donnelly believes the day of the week and cooler weather played a role in the attendance lag. Still, he sees it as a success.
"If you can have 11,000 people come out on a Monday night for any gathering I think tells you there's significant interest," he said. "My colleagues across all the NHL markets are marvelling in what we've achieved here."
The next whiteout is party is scheduled to begin on Donald Street near Bell MTS Place on May 20 at noon. The Winnipeg Jets faceoff against the Vegas Golden Knights at 2 p.m.