Thursday, June 4, 2009

Two men say they're Jesus, one of them must be wrong

The headline is from Dire Straits' "Industrial Disease" and fits what you're about to read.

At the May 20 post-board meeting news conference, CTV's Mike Killeen asked deputy VANOC CEO and executive vice-president of revenue, marketing and communications Dave Cobb the simple question: "...what kind of revenue do you generate from 150,000 tickets?"

Cobb answered: "It'll be probably in the $40 to $50 million range. When you quickly calculate what an average price that will be, you will see it has many higher priced tickets in there. That's because we do have a significant number of opening and closing ceremonies tickets and gold medal hockey tickets. So it's a wide range. If they all go it'll be in the $50 million range."

On May 29, I asked vice-president of ticketing and marketing Caley Denton during a teleconference: "You said there was over 150,000 tickets available. At the news conference after the board last week Dave Cobb said the projected revenue was going to be $40 to $50 million. During the first phase domestically you sold almost $95 million of tickets, I'm just doing rough math and want you to let me know if I'm in the ballpark. But does that mean you sold 300,000 to 350,000 tickets during the first phase?"

Denton's answer?

"I won't comment on numbers and do the ballpark math, but I will say Dave's projection was right-through. It was what we have remaining, it wasn't necessarily centred around this on sale."

Cobb is Denton's superior and has authority over the department. I'm taking the $40 million to $50 million estimate as gospel.

But wait! There are now 200,000 tickets for sale on Saturday, which demands a new estimate. Nobody at VANOC could provide that on Thursday, but I whipped out my calculator again and I'm conservatively estimating another $13 million should VANOC sell the extra 50,000.

If VANOC sells out the Canadian market phase two, it will have sold 500,000 to 550,000 to the domestic public. If 70% of all 1.6 million tickets are available, that means 1.12 million would be the public inventory, half of which would go to the Canadian public.

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