What did we learn from Canada Cup?

Corey Atkinson

Within moments of the final takeout by Brad Jacobs, the TSN crews started packing up and leaving.

Broadcaster Vic Rauter will be doing his counting elsewhere in the near future. 

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Mascot Slider has slid his last slide in Estevan this year – not before signing his dressing room door sign to organizers as thanks. Superfan Hans Madsen and his crazy coloured beard are both on the road back home.

The curling ice was chipped off, the television lights came down, and the media row that felt like a personal stretching space was dismantled quickly.

And what have we learned?

We’ve learned that this city can host a pretty good event and can probably do it again without worrying if we’ll have enough support from volunteers.

Big events like this call for big coverage. Personally, I saw every single draw live. That’s 14 draws with over 50 matches to figure out why someone won, or why they lost. I believe that myself and the TSN digital guy were the only individuals there for all of them.

And as an aside, the digital reporter’s requests during the event were a little different; he would tell the Curling Canada people while arranging for interviews that ‘I’m just doing something for Instagram’, and I’d be thinking those words made sense individually but together as a concept I’m not really cottoning on to what was going on. TSN Curling has over 30,000 followers on Twitter so I assume they know how to market what they’re doing.

The Canada Cup was a made for television event. The sponsorship prices were high and the corporate presence was big. It was an enjoyable fan experience, thanks in no small part to Slider and some of the visuals on the big screen. The curling itself was top notch; one literally couldn’t have asked for a better and more consistent viewing experience from the fan’s standpoint.

Squeaky-close games didn’t leave a lot for error and any aspiring skip wanting to take their game to the next level could have picked up a few strategic pointers from what went on the ice.

If one just watched the event on television, saw the empty seats and thought ‘Why weren’t people there?’, one would be missing the point. The bottom few rows were difficult to see sheet C right in the middle of the rink. Things were fairly tight in the home goal end of Affinity Place, plus a lot of people decided to watch the match in the private boxes to help get a better view.

When the curling is readily available on any skinny basic cable package, it makes for a fairly interesting decision: do you go to the rink where the sightlines aren’t perfectly based for curling, or do you watch it on television with a few friends (or alone) where you’re able to better hear and focus on various games?

I’ve always been one, if I wanted to experience something big like that, to watch it live. I’m sure a lot of people in the area were of the same mind, being that there was over 1,000 per draw in a rink that can comfortably seat twice that. The people who stayed at home might not have been at the rink, but they were watching it and were subject to the same (perhaps more) advertising dollars, which is what drives an event like this.

Their eyes were still on it, just as mine were.

The fact that these teams are sponsored like NASCAR teams with advertising on every nook and cranny on their team outfits – even down to their legs – means there’s money just in being at these events for them. Put their games on television in front of hundreds of thousands of eyes and watch those dollars pile up.

We won’t be able to see how many eyes were estimated to have been on this city and area until the Numeris numbers come out before Christmas. But the fact that high profile curlers like Jennifer Jones, Kevin Koe and Brad Jacobs were in two of the finals, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see either of the finals crack the top 30 programs watched in Canada in the week.

For what had to have been a fairly nominal fee given the exposure we got, this community was in the national curling spotlight and the eyes of the country were upon it as the best curlers in Canada gathered under the Affinity Place roof. No matter how you look at it, that’s an incredible gift to the community. 

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