25,000 tickets were sold for Montreal's Formula E race
Published Wednesday, November 1, 2017 12:18PM EDT
Last Updated Wednesday, November 1, 2017 6:58PM EDT
The numbers on the controversial e-race in Montreal are in: Event promoter Montreal, It's Electric has finally revealed that 25,000 tickets were sold for the event.
Another 20,000 were given away, including many to businesses and people living in the area affected by the race track and the many street closures necessary for it to take place.
That means that 44 per cent of the tickets were handed out free.
Held on July 29 and 30, Mayor Denis Coderre said that the goal of the race, held on the streets of downtown Montreal, was to highlight the importance of green technology.
The city of Montreal has budget $24 million over six years to host the race, which has drawn criticism for disrupting local businesses and traffic as organizers spent a month setting up and tearing down the stands, fences, and paddocks.
In the final days of the municipal election, Coderre has deferred giving out the numbers on the e-race to the event organizers. That company claims the number of tickets sold is normal for the first edition, given that tickets were put up for sale six months in advance.
By comparison the most recent E-race in NYC sold out: 8,000 tickets each for two races on its inaugural weekend in 2017.
Coderre's opponent, Projet Montreal's Valerie Plante said the ticket sales are "embarrassing," adding that the race wasn't worth the price residents and businesses paid.
"Since the beginning Denis Coderre has been saying 'oh it's a big success, people are complaining for nothing.' Well, half the tickets were given away! That shows it was maybe not so much of a success or at least we need to do things different and this is where I'm coming in and saying wait a minute. Let's do things different. Let's open the book that will be the first thing and then we might make big changes," said Plante.
At the time of the race, Coderre was confident the race was worthwhile, telling reporters he believed it would be sold out.
Coderre was not available to talk to the media on Wednesday as he prepared for a sit-down interview with the Gazette's editorial board.
He reportedly told The Gazette that the E-race was a success, but that the city would do better next year.
Montreal has agreed to host the event for three years, with an option of holding it for an additional three years.