The City of Cranbrook and the Cranbrook Curling Club are hoping that 2017 will be a year that kicks off with a world class curling event in the city. The two groups are close to signing an agreement to put in a bid for the 2017 Sportsnet Grand Slam of Curling which is planned for Jan. 4 – 8, 2017.
Bill Brock, president of the Cranbrook Curling Club said the event will have a great draw and bring a lot of attention to the city and region.
“Sportsnet initially told us there would be the 10 best men’s teams in the world and the 10 best ladies’ teams in the world coming to Cranbrook,” he said. “Now they’re thinking that might even go to a larger number.”
Part of the reason there may be even more teams coming is that 2017 falls in a pre-Olympic Games year.
“All the teams that are looking at competing in the Olympics in 2018 will want to compete as much as they can in 2017,” he said. “So it should be a big draw for teams around the world. I would expect we’d get the teams from Russia, Japan, Korea, basically all the big teams in the world of curling.”
The Grand Slam events are separate from the Curl Canada events, such as the Brier and the Scotties.
“It’s going to be a great event for the city,” he said. “Even with just 20 teams, each team has a minimum of six, probably more. They all need hotels, they all need to eat. Then of course all the media people that are going to be here. There’s going to be hundreds of people coming in just for that. They’ll be here for a week and will need a lot of business services here in Cranbrook.”
Brock said the Grand Slams have been going on for a few years now and are put on by Sportsnet. Part of the reasoning behind putting in a bid has to do with Sportsnet increasing the number of Grand Slams in the coming years.
“They had six before and now they are going to go with eight,” he explained.
Brock said the Grand Slams typically have $100,000 prize pools.
The Cranbrook Curling Club sent a letter to council, included in the April 27 regular meeting agenda, which noted the club’s board of directors had unanimously agreed to guarantee up to $90,0000 of the $150,000 fee required to host the event. Under the current proposal, the city would cover the other $60,000.
“The board understands that previous Grand Slam Curling events have been profitable for the hosting organization and we would propose that the Curling Club and the City share equally in the financial returns of this event,” the letter read. “Therefore, based on previous event results, we would anticipate that both parties should receive their initial investment back and probably earn a profit from this event.”
The board also wrote that in addition to the financial aspects, the city would receive national and international television coverage promoting the city as a great place to visit or to do business. The board said the event would also bring a large number of participants and fans who would require the facilities and services of local businesses which would be a major benefit for the local business community.
The board of directors also noted curling club members would form a local organizing committee to oversee the various tasks for the event, such as opening/closing ceremonies, ice crews, on-ice officials, program sellers, set-up and tear down and other responsibilities.