The 2017 Tim Hortons Brier in St. John’s was an overwhelming success, at the box office where Mile One Centre attracted over 120,000 curling fans, and on the bottom line, where some $10 million in economic activity was generated for the province.
Apparently, it wasn’t enough to convince Curling Canada St. John’s should play host to next year’s world men’s curling championship.
A committee formed to submit a bid for the 2019 world men’s was informed Thursday morning it was not successful in its attempt to land the championship.
“It was a great bid from your crew, for sure,” read a letter in part from Danny Lamoureux of Curling Canada, “but we received an outstanding offer from another centre, and we’re in the midst of finalizing that bid.”
To which centre St. John’s lost out is unknown, but Lethbridge, Alta., was going hard after the event.
“It’s a little disappointing,” said Bob Osborne, who co-chaired last year’s Brier with Eugene Trickett and Sandra Sparrow, “especially with the success of the Brier last year. We were more hopeful because of that.
“But saying that, it is a bit close on the calendar to have two major events in one city.”
Brad Gushue and his curling team out of St. John’s won the Brier and world championship (held in Edmonton) last year.
Had St. John’s won the 2019 worlds bid, with Gushue emerging as Brier champ that year, the championship would likely be another box office bonanza.
But Osborne and Co. didn’t submit a bid gambling on that scenario playing out.
“To be honest, we were projecting a half-full building because without Team Gushue representing Canada, I think that’s what you’d be looking at,” he said.
Osborne and his group will go back to the drawing board and look to bid on another world championship in three or four years time. There’s “no doubt”, he said, the city will land another Brier, but that will be six or seven years down the road.
As for the Scotties Tournament of Hearts Canadian women’s championship, Osborne said the city will also be considering playing host to another championship.
The 2005 championship was staged at Mile One, and Osborne said attendance at the time was the third- or fourth-highest for a Scotties.
“Which is impressive because — and no disrespect intended — the Newfoundland and Labrador team was at the bottom of the standings,” Osborne said.