Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

'Winnipeggers have embraced this'

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They won't actually start throwing rocks at the MTS Centre until Sunday, but already the 2013 Tim Hortons Roar of the Rings has been declared a financial success.

Host committee chairman Mitch Tarapasky said Wednesday this winter's marquee Canadian curling event -- at which the country's men's and women's curling representatives for Sochi will be determined -- has already turned a profit for local organizers.

And he said next week's event is also on track to exceed the ticket sales for the last major curling event at the MTS Centre -- the 2008 Brier.

"In the end, Curl Manitoba is going to come out making money and there will be a real legacy for Manitoba curling created out of this," Tarapasky said. "I can't speak to the Canadian Curling Association's financial end of things, but from a local host committee perspective -- yeah, there's no risk of us not making some financial gains from it."

Curl Manitoba, the governing body of curling in Manitoba, along with the provincial and civic governments paid $1 million to the Canadian Curling Association to secure the rights to host next week's event.

A total of 165,075 spectators attended the 2008 Brier at the MTS Centre -- the eighth best attended Brier of all time -- and Tarapasky said that number will likely be eclipsed next week. "We'll beat that number," he said. "Winnipeggers have embraced this. We've done a lot to market it and the four home teams have helped big time."

So too has the announcement last weekend that Will Ferrell's movie character, Ron Burgundy, will put in an appearance on Sunday as a 'guest commentator' for broadcaster TSN.

"Will Ferrell has created a lot of buzz," said Tarapasky. "I know people have bought tickets because he's going to be there. It's made it a fun thing and really given it a different profile."

Capacity for curling at the MTS Centre is about 12,000 per draw. Tarapasky said there are still tickets available for every draw, but some -- particularly on closing weekend -- are approaching sellouts.

-- Wiecek

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition November 28, 2013 D1

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