Game sells out after $1 ticket special in wake of SARS

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Game sells out after $1 ticket special in wake of SARS

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Game sells out after $1 ticket special in wake of SARS

April 30, 2003

Associated Press

TORONTO -- The Blue Jays sold out Tuesday night's game against the Texas Rangers after offering $1 tickets in an effort to show Toronto remains vibrant despite SARS.

The sellout was announced before the World Health Organization lifted its warning against nonessential travel to Toronto, saying it was satisfied with local measures to stop the spread of severe acute respiratory syndrome.

The Blue Jays' parent company, Rogers Communications Inc., said it wants to "bring the community together at SkyDome ... to show its support for the city of Toronto."

The tickets sold for $1 Canadian, which is worth 69 cents in U.S. currency. A crowd of 48,097 turned out -- the largest since opening day.

Fans bought tickets at a rate of about 2,000 an hour and SkyDome was sold out late Monday night. About 34,000 tickets were bought for the reduced price. The 16,000 fans who paid full price will be able to buy a $1 ticket for a later game.

With the average Blue Jays ticket about $14 in American dollars, the move is costing Rogers roughly $484,000.

"This is an opportunity to say 'Look we're all right, we're a vibrant, safe and healthy city,'" Blue Jays president Paul Godfrey said.

The U.S. ambassador to Canada, Paul Cellucci, will throw out the ceremonial first pitch Tuesday.

Cellucci said Toronto's SARS outbreak has been overblown, and it's safe to visit the city.

While some visiting players have been nervous about traveling to Toronto, fans haven't been reluctant. For their three-game series against Kansas City, the Blue Jays drew 16,417 spectators Friday, 17,197 on Saturday and 17,059 on Sunday, their second-, third- and fourth-biggest crowds this season.

Godfrey estimated SARS already has cost the club the sale of 10,000 tickets and said inquiries for group sales have dropped substantially.

Texas first baseman Rafael Palmeiro and catcher Todd Greene said they aren't preoccupied with thinking about SARS.

"The chances of catching it are virtually zero. I don't think too many guys are worried," Palmeiro said.

Greene ate at a local restaurant on Monday night. He said he felt better about coming to Toronto after being educated about the virus.

"It's unfortunate that something like SARS has tarnished Toronto's image," Greene said.
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Post by Philly44 »

I thought this was a nice gesture by the BlueJays organazation, and it obviously worked. They picked a good game for it as well, there were 27 runs scored although the hometown Jays lost 16-11, it must have been entertaining.
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