It wasn't hard to tell by looking at it on TV but the attendance for the latest Grand Slam event in Medicine Hat was pretty pitiful. In the Medicine Hat News, writer Darren Steinke points out that the final was up agains the CFL Western final with the Roughriders playing, but that wasn't the only reason why no one showed up.
While you can come up with all sorts of theories of why the average attendance at (sic) might have been around 500, it seems people might just be forgetting that the average Joe Fan just didn’t want to go.
Dating back to 2004, attendance for major curling events held at The Arena has been on a steady decline.In the 2004 Continental Cup of Curling, the 4,006 seats at The Arena were almost full for every draw with an average attendance of 3,847. The 2007 Continental Cup saw an average of 2,950 spectators attend each draw. Just three years later in 2010, the average attendance for the Canada Cup of Curling was 1,820.
While attendance figures weren’t released for the Canadian Open, it was obvious to see it had a lower average attendance per draw than the proceeding three previous big events.
Comparing the Grand Slams to the CCA events is tough as the CCA can use advertising time on its broadcasts to cross promote. But as Steinke points out, it seems the Slams have attendance difficulties wherever they go.
For the Sportsnet-controlled Grand Slam of Curling events, anyone that does tune in can see attendance has been a problem, so it isn’t just the Hat where the average person doesn’t want to go to curling. Of course, it is easy to argue the Canadian Open wasn’t promoted as heavily as the three Canadian Curling Association events that were here. That doesn’t cover up the point of the steep declines. Average fans are staying away. The numbers don’t lie. As Parcells said, you are what your record says you are.