A week almost perfect: the Rogers Cup has registered a record audience this year

  • Photo: Martin Knight

    Mathieu Boulay

    Sunday, 13 August 2017 13:44

    Sunday, 13 August 2017 13:44

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    The tournament director of the Rogers Cup, Eugène Lapierre, had the smile split from ear to ear when he presented his balance sheet a few hours before the duel Federer-Zverev. And one can understand it.

    In the course of the last week, the tournament has registered a record audience. A total of 216 097 spectators passed through the turnstiles for matches involving several of the best players in the world. Initially, Lapierre had a goal of having $ 14.1 million with its sale of tickets, but it is rather a sum of around $ 15 million, which will come into the coffers of the nonprofit organization.

    “You never know exactly how things will unfold, stressed Eugène Lapierre. This time, we have been able to deliver what people expect from us.”

    “The dice fell on the good side this week. We had a lot of fun to organize it, but there are three factors that we cannot control: the players, the results and the temperature. Everything went very well.”

    The factor Federer-Shapovalov

    The return of Roger Federer and the course unhoped-for Denis Shapovalov gave rhythm to the festivities. The two players, who have raised the crowd at Uniprix Stadium on several occasions, have had an impact on the crowds at the counters.

    “Both have contributed, but it is difficult to say to what extent they have done that, said Lapierre. During the pre-sale tickets, we had already reached 92-93 % of our goal. Usually, one keeps a margin of 8% for the week of the tournament, but this figure rose to 15 %.

    “It is because of Federer and Shapovalov. When one or the other was playing, the stadium was filled to its maximum capacity. It means that 500 to 600 tickets were takers because they were there.’ Status quo for the roof

    Unlike other editions of the Rogers Cup, Lapierre and his organizing committee have been unaffected by the rain. In fact, no match has been postponed due to poor weather conditions.

    However, it would be surprising that such a situation does not recur in the following two years. Which brings us back to the idea of a retractable roof on the carpet. It would be an approximate amount of $ 100 million that would be needed.

    “We are always in the process of studying the feasibility, said Lapierre. This type of project can take several years to materialize. It is too early to give numbers or other details. We must hope that it will happen one day, but we are not yet ready.

    “At the beginning of the week, we said that if it was raining the whole week, it would give us ammunition. This is what has happened at Flushing Meadows. For five consecutive years, they have had to postpone the final to Monday. Subsequently, they have had the necessary funds to build a roof. This was the same thing in Paris and at Wimbledon. It is the way of the future.”

    The director of the Rogers Cup will not put pressure on the City of Montreal or the various levels of government on the public square. This is not in his personality. However, he has an ace in his game: the paddock of the circuit Gilles-Villeneuve, which will be built at a cost of $ 52 million next year.

    If the mayor Denis Coderre has not hesitated to go forward in this project, it would be rude to say no to the retractable roof of Uniprix Stadium. Of course, the two levels of government should also take similar strides to ensure that this project see the light of day.

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