Tickets for world juniors games in Victoria are nearly sold out thanks to a big change in marketing philosophy.
Organizers of the 2019 International Ice Hockey Federation U-20 world championship tournament — popularly referred to in Canada simply as the world juniors — hoped to avoid the low-attendance woes that plagued the last two tournaments at Toronto and Montreal in 2016-17 and Buffalo, New York, in 2017-18.
The Victoria and Vancouver host organizing committee appears to have done just that after the acres of empty seats that were on display in Buffalo.
Tom Renney, CEO of Hockey Canada, admits to “overshooting the runway” in terms of pricing when Canada hosted in Toronto and Montreal.
The goal this time was to bring it back to junior-hockey pricing and not big-market pricing.
It has worked.
Fourteen-game ticket packages, which have sold out, were priced in the hundreds of dollars, rather than $1,000-plus. Individual tickets, if available, are as low as $29 for the initial games, and as low as $50 for the quarter-finals.
“We have sold 90 per cent of the tickets in Vancouver and 97 per cent of the tickets in Victoria,” said Barry Petrachenko, CEO of B.C. Hockey and co-chair of the 2019 organizing committee with Vancouver Giants owner RonToigo.
Capacity for Rogers Arena in Vancouver is 18,910. It’s 7,006 for Save-on-Foods Memorial Centre in Victoria. Pool A, which includes host Canada, is playing at Rogers Arena while Victoria is hosting Pool B.
“We have exceeded our target, which was 90 per cent capacity. We have only a very limited number of tickets remaining, especially in Victoria,” said Petrachenko. “We have been gratified by the response.”
Twelve games, all the Pool B matches beginning today, and two playoff quarter-finals on Jan. 2, will be played in Victoria.
Any remaining tickets go on sale at the Save-on-Foods Memorial Centre box office at 10 a.m. on the day of the games, selectyourtickets.com or by phoning 250-220-7777.