Toronto Globe & Mail (Canada) (07/07/15) Bascaramurty, Dakshana
The organizers of the Pan Am Games are in the final phase of a marketing campaign designed to boost ticket sales by stirring up local interest, while critics say the push is challenged by the event's lack of prestige versus the Olympics. A key issue was the organizing committee not knowing until recently which countries and athletes would be participating in the games, says TO2015's Neala Barton. "I think it's a tough event because the public perception is it attracts less of the famous athletes," notes Sports Traveler's Anbritt Stengele. "Maybe not the Olympic-caliber athletes, although I'm sure there are some that compete there." Another hindrance to Pan Am ticket sales is the institution of temporary high-occupancy-vehicle lanes that have annoyed drivers, discouraging attendance by Southern Ontario residents. Meanwhile, TO2015 is trying to play up the heroic qualities of local athletes in the games, and the organizing committee has allocated at least 7,000 tickets to be distributed to residents in host municipalities. Ontario also recently acquired 4,500 tickets worth $105,000 to give away to children and youth via a summer-camp program. So far, slightly less than 800,000 Pan Am tickets have been sold, and the organizers have a target of selling 1.4 million tickets.