Ticket sales for Pan Am closing stronger since Kanye added
Pan Am Games organizers said Friday that ticket sales for the closing ceremony have been stronger since Kanye West was announced as a headliner, but some seats still remain.
The 21-time Grammy- winning Chicago hip-hop legend will perform at Sunday’s festivities along with rock howler Serena Ryder and Miami pop-rapper Pitbull. The announcement that the reliably divisive West would headline the celebration generated a robust mix of cheer, outrage and, apparently, money.
“We saw I think an immediate uptick (in sales),” Saad Rafi, CEO of the TO2015 organizing committee, said at a news confer- ence Friday.
He said a “couple thousand” tickets remained available for the closing, to be held at the Rogers Centre - known for now as the Pan Am Ceremonies Venue - which also packed a sold-out crowd of roughly 45,000 for the Cirque du Soleil-curated opening ceremony earlier this month.
As expected, organizers weren’t particularly generous with details of the event, preferring instead to preserve some “fantastic surprises.”
Still, Rafi shared a series of figures meant to express the event’s scope: 500 costumes made from 3,000 yards of fabric, 510 volunteers making up the show’s cast, 150 broadcast cameras and all of the lights (or 300, to be exact).
Ryder will sing the Pan Am Games’ official song “Together We Are One,” and the show will feature what Rafi describes as a “huge, captivating” fireworks show, a display of pyro “even bigger than the last one that the city saw for the opening ceremonies.” The theme is “unity through diversity.”
After the news conference, Rafi said the artists were working out their sets but that he expected each to perform three songs.
But after all the discussion on whether West was the right choice, organizers took pains to point out that the musical performances were to be only one portion of the ceremony.
“I just want to emphasize that they are part of the show,” he said of the three performers. “It’s really important to be clear that the closing ceremonies are for the athletes - for the spectators and the audience (too) but traditionally it’s to celebrate the athletes and their performance.
“It’s not their concert,” he added later. “It’s the closing ceremonies and they’re performing in it - all three of them, I might add.”
CBC will carry the ceremony live starting at 7 p.m. ET.