Sunday, May 22, 2005

Will the World Curling Tour
Ever Replace the Brier?

The World Curling Tour offers A LOT of prize money. It is a very attractive option for many of the rinks. As an example,

WINNIPEG, Man. -- The Ultima World Curling Tour and BDO Dunwoody LLP have announced the return of Grand Slam curling to Winnipeg’s MTS Centre.

The BDO Curling Classic takes to the ice January 26-29 and will feature the top high-performance men’s teams in the world battling for a $100,000 prize purse. It is widely expected the field will include the 2006 Canadian Men’s Olympic Team, which will compete at the Olympic Winter Games in Torino, Italy, in February.

The bulk of the three-pool field will be based on the World Curling Players’ Association (WCPA) World Rankings as of December 31, 2005.
It seems that the World Curling Tour is attracting increasing interest, both on television and among some of the top Canadian curlers.

My expectation (and hope), however, is that the WCT will not go head-to-head with the Brier (though if it did, I can readily imagine that the WCT might win). Rather, we are more likely to see a series of different tournaments evolve, as has happened in tennis. If so, then one rink could win several different "majors" throughout the curling season. Increasingly we are likely to see top curlers take long leaves of absence from their "day" jobs to curl in the big money tournaments. And eventually we might see more head-to-head matches between the top rinks of the world.

At any rate, as I said, I hope this is the direction that different tournaments continue to pursue in the future: more television, more money for the curlers, and more tournaments for curling fans to watch on television.


At 5/24/2005 9:19 a.m., Blogger Amateur said...

I don't know if you were aware but the CCA (who run the Brier) and the World Curling Players' Association had quite a dispute brewing there for a while. Here is a press release describing the resolution of the conflict in September 2003. You can find more background on the web.

All this just to say that the relationship between the CCA and the money-making organizations is not entirely amicable.

At 5/25/2005 8:56 p.m., Blogger EclectEcon said...

The rivalry you mention boiled over a couple of years ago to the point that Ferby and Martin are far from being best of friends.

Because I'm economist, I have an inkling that money might be important in determining the outcome. After all, the free-guard zone was brought in to increase tv viewership (and advertising income). At the very least, the WCT will likely lead to more competition between the two organizations. My hope is that we will be able to see more good curling as a result of the competition.


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