Confusion surrounding Brier Cup Deposit Program addressed

It was over a year ago that Kingston announced it would be putting in a bid to host the Brier Cup in 2020, and the excitement of those locally was obvious.

For a number of curling fans, that translated into eagerly participating in the ‘Kingston Brier Bid Deposit Program.’ The Program was developed to help demonstrate “a strong level of community support to strengthen Kingston’s bid to Curling Canada,” Tourism Kingston said in a press release issued on Tuesday, Nov. 28, 2017.

However, after it was announced that Kingston had won the bid and would, indeed, be hosting the 2020 Brier Cup, there were everything from murmurs of confusion to downright complaints from a number of those who’d put down the $50 deposit as part of the Deposit Program. Members of the public complained that they believed that $50 deposit could be used against any tickets during the Brier, while Tourism Kingston (which is sometimes referred to as Visit Kingston), and management at the Leon’s Centre held that the $50 deposit had always been earmarked to be used against the purchase of full event ticket packages, which range from $500 to $575, which includes 22 draws (rounds of play).

On Wednesday, Feb. 6, 2019, Tourism Kingston (officially known as Kingston Accommodation Partners and Tourism Kingston) sent out a release regarding the end of pre-sale tickets fast approaching.

“A limited number of pre-sale ticket packages are remaining for the 2020 Tim Hortons Brier in Kingston but you’ll have to move quickly – they will be gone February 28 – tickets are released for sale to the general public on March 1” the press release said.

“This is your last chance to take advantage of seat selection and special ticket package pricing – full event packages from only $559. Only until February 28.”

In an attempt to clarify any confusion surrounding the Deposit Program, Kingstonist reached out to Tourism Kingston and explained that we’d been contacted by a number of citizens who were concerned and/or confused about what their $50 deposits could be used towards.

“We’ve had a number of complaints and inquiries from those who put down a $50 deposit back when it was announced that the Brier was coming to Kingston. I have been told by those sources that their $50 deposit did not secure them a ticket, and that they have to use the deposit towards full event packages – something that wasn’t made clear to anyone in the first place,” this reporter wrote to Megan Knott, Executive Director of Kingston Accommodation Partners and Tourism Kingston.

“Can you please look into this and explain what is going on? There are a lot of people that aren’t pleased with this development.”

Knott responded promptly.

“The deposit program was very clear. The $50 was a deposit on full event package,” she said, noting that Curling Canada, the sanctioning body for the sport of curling in the country, has run the same program for many other Briers, and that the program was very successful when it ran in St. John’s, NL.

“Currently these packages are being held for local folks looking to buy. You can buy and split the package for the 22 draws with others.”

Knott’s colleague, Brooke Lenser, Sports Tourism Development Manager for Tourism Kingston followed up on the inquiry and explained further how the Deposit Program was always intended solely for full event packages.

“It is unfortunate that there is confusion around the program,” Lenser said, pointing toward the following FAQ document regarding the Deposit Program, which outlines where the $50 goes.

Lenser also pointed out that the press release issued on Tuesday, Nov. 28, 2017 clearly stated that the $50 deposit would go towards a full event package (and, indeed, it does. You can see it here).

“Single tickets and weekend packages should be released later in 2019. However, we are encouraging people to use their $50 towards the full event package and split the tickets with a friend(s) since they are transferable,” Lenser said.

When pointedly asked if the $50 deposits could be used towards single tickets for the sake of clarity, Knott explained they could not be, adding that Program is intended to attempt to fill the building during the Brier.

“The whole premise of the campaign is that CC (Curling Canada) wants to fill the building. We cannot do this selling single tickets, at least at the start,” said Knott, noting that Briers are internationally televised events, and also a business.

“The City stands to gain over $11 million in economic impact and many new travellers to… With 19 draws the best way to sell tickets is to sell via event packages. Folks can co-buy, as in three or four folks go in on a package and divide the draws.”

Currently, only full event packages are available during pre-sales, and they can only be purchased directly through the Leon’s Centre Box office by calling 613-650-5078, or emailing boxoffice@leonscentre.com.

The Brier Cup will take place from February 29 to March 8, 2020. Find out more about the 2020 Brier Cup here.

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