Monday, September 29, 2014

Pan Am Games Tickets On Sale

(Photo credit Toronto 2015 Facebook)

It's the last week to request tickets in the initial window for the Pan Am Games. Have you requested yours yet? I have been researching the events, the venues, the schedules and prices and have come up with the following criteria for my choices. I'd love to hear how you made your decision on what to request, especially if I'm missing something.

This is for the initial 3 week ticket request window. It allows people to take their time and request tickets according to their own schedule (rather than everyone going online at the same time). No orders will be processed until after the closing date of October 6th at 9pm ET. If there are enough tickets available in the session(s) you requested, your credit card will be charged. If there are more requests than tickets, a lottery will determine who gets tickets.

Later, the remaining tickets will be released on a first come first serve basis.

There are 36 sports and 52 disciplines! With 75% of tickets $45 and under, it seems like it's affordable. That is true for anyone wanting to go to a few events. For someone like me who loves a variety of sports and would love to see as much as possible including medal events (which are sometimes a minimum of $80), the total adds up quickly.

How does one choose which events to attend? 

Here are some of my criteria:

1. Opening Ceremony (Rogers Centre)

This is a definite for me. I love to see Team Canada enter the stadium (normally on television). The question for me is whether I want to be close ($350) to see the athletes and Cirque du Soleil performers better or whether I want to be higher up in the stadium to get an overview of the spectacle.

2. Closing Ceremony (Rogers Centre)

Another definite for me. Opening and Closing Ceremonies are so rare that I would love to attend both. Sign me up!

3. Competitions

How does one choose which competitions to attend? There is a lot to consider:

a) Schedule
(some events conflict with each other or with your work or family schedule)

There are sports with competitions over several days and other sports with a single event on a specific day. I started by looking at single events I really wanted to see. Examples of single events (or 2 day events) include:
triathlon, open water swimming, marathon, race walk, synchronized swimming, slalom canoe/kayak, BMX cycling, mountain bike, individual time trial cycling, road cycling, trampoline, modern pentathlon, roller sports, rugby sevens.

The time and length of the event will also be a consideration. For example the marathon is at 7am so it is possible to see two (or three) events on that day (depending on traffic/transit).

b) Location

No one can live close to all the events, so location will be a consideration. Parking and driving will be an issue so I may choose to stay in downtown Toronto for most of my events. There are various events near Exhibition Place so multiple events in one day is possible.

Click here to see the different venues that lists which sports each will be hosting. For example, the CIBC Pan Am Park at Exhibition Place/Ontario Place will host 16 different sports. Transit routes already exist for this location so it may be easier to get to than the CIBC Pan Am Aquatic Centre and Field House at Morningside and Shepherd. What will the game time transportation be like?

Events held on the subway line may be even better like at Varsity Stadium (archery), Ryerson (basketball) and Pan Am Fields at U of T (field hockey).

You can view the Ministry of Transportation strategy document by clicking here. It states that there will be no parking at the venues, so when more details are released about transportation, I will make the decision whether to go to venues that are further away.

If you don't live in Toronto, it may be best to avoid travelling into the city unless it's an event you really care about. There are plenty of great events outside of the city.

If the overall schedule is overwhelming, you may want to check a venue easily accessible from where you live and see which events are being held there.

c) Sports you love

If you love watching a certain sport, then you may not mind who is competing. It's just a matter of deciding which day to go. There are many preliminary rounds which are more affordable than medal rounds. Ordering tickets now will require luck on whether you see Canadians compete.

The initial request window is also a great time to try to get gold medal game tickets. These will probably be very popular and very difficult to purchase later.

d) Athletes you love

To see a particular athlete, it will often times be best to wait to see a detailed schedule. An event where everyone competes at the same time or in the same ticketed session (like golf, marathon, triathlon, trampoline, gymnastics) make it easier, but if you want to see a specific wrestler or beach volleyball team, it may be best to wait to see a schedule but you take the chance that tickets are no longer available.

e) Chance to hear O Canada with a Canadian winning gold

Who doesn't want to hear O Canada in person (especially at home)?

Canada is defending champion in over 30 disciplines. There will be lots of chances to see Canada on the podium. Click here to see Canada's results from the 2011 Pan Am Games.

f) Sports you rarely get the chance to see

With new venues being built comes sports we haven't seen in this area before. I'm thinking of track cycling for example. The Pan Am Games also gives a chance for some lesser known non-Olympic sports to get some attention like handball, racquetball, roller sports (figure skating and speed skating), squash, waterski and wakeboard.

g) Sports that are great spectator sports

Any type of racing is exciting if the crowd gets up and cheers for their favourites. Sports that show the speed or lets you appreciate the technique can be great to see live, especially if you can get seats close to the action. Non-stop action sports like team or racquet sports are great to keep the downtime to a minimum. Sports that will have multiple events like athletics, swimming, rowing, canoe/kayak, gymnastics all-round and combat sports would also be great to see live.

h) Chance to see best athletes in the world (where the best in the world are from a Pan Am country)

I've already mentioned Canada's best. Will the USA send their best swimmers, gymnasts, track athletes or basketball players? Will Jamaica send some of their best sprinters?

What Olympic or world medallists will be competing?

The Women's Soccer World Cup ends on July 5th. Will Canada send some of their best women to the Pan Am Games that start a week later? USA have already decided not to field a team.

Those lucky enough to see some of the best tennis players at the Pan Am Games with a $30-$45 ticket will be a steal compared to the Rogers Cup prices.

k) Price (and value for the money)

The women's and men's marathons, race walks and the road cycling events can be viewed at free points along the course or with a $35 ticket at the start/finish line. Sailing and the cycling individual time trial are non-ticketed events.

The most expensive sporting medal events include:

$80-$140 per session
swimming, track and field and track cycling

basketball, boxing, equestrian, artistic gymnastics, rowing

The remaining sports are a minimum of $35 for medal sessions.

The cheapest tickets for preliminary rounds is $20 (half-price for students/seniors).

Although it may seem like tickets aren't that expensive, sometimes the sessions are quite short. On July 12th for example, there are three medal diving sessions (10am, 1:30pm, 7pm). They are all ticketed separately at $40-$50 each. At least there's no travelling between these sessions, so it is feasible to watch diving all day and evening if you buy tickets to each one.

In comparison, the modern pentathlon has a women's event and a men's event for $40 each. That's 5 events for the price of one and I imagine a full day session.

There are 4 Canoe Kayak sprint all day sessions for $40 each. Rowing has 3 medal days. At these sessions, there are multiple medal winners whereas in diving there may only be one medal per session. The first three rounds of golf are $45. This is a full day event although perhaps not as exciting or impressive as other sports if you're not a golf fan.

So what tickets should I request during this ticket window? Taking everything into consideration (including my budget)...

For now, I think I will request:
July 10th Opening Ceremony ($100-$350)
July 11/12th one or both of the triathlons ($35 each)
 * then I will hopefully attend extra events in the afternoon/evening at Pan Am Park
July 19th 7pm Trampoline ($50)
July 26th Closing Ceremony ($90-$200)

The rest of the days, I will have to wait to get more information regarding who is competing, which specific event is being held and transportation.


In case you're curious, this is what my Pan Am schedule would look like if I had an unlimited budget (and I had to decide now).

Well, I tried to pick events for each day on this draft schedule, but as you can see, it got a little messy ;-) There are multiple sports and events that I had to accept I couldn't see (whether it be location, schedule, preference or budget). This smaller list at least made my decisions a little easier.

July 7-9 Water-Polo (8am women's 4pm men's $20-$30)
July 9 Synchronized swimming (preliminaries - 2 sessions 10am 6pm $20-$30)

July 10th 5pm Opening Ceremony($100-$350)

July 11th 8:30am Women's triathlon ($35)
  •  and/or Cycling BMX at 2pm (Centennial Park)
  •  and/or Women's Open Water 10k 3:30pm ($35 - same location as triathlon)
  •  and/or Artistic gymnastics 12pm or 5pm ($45-75 - walking distance to triathlon)
  •  and/or Diving 7pm ($40-$50) (transportation info needed to double book with triathlon)
  •  and/or Rugby Sevens 10am or 4pm ($20-$30 - walking distance to triathlon)
July 12th 8:30am Men's triathlon ($35)
  •  or Mountain bike 10am (location makes this a single event day whereas triathlon can be combined with others)
  •  or Rugby sevens 10am ($20-$30) or 4pm (medals $35-45) (walking distance to triathlon)
  •  or Men's Open Water 10k 3:30pm ($35) (same location as triathlon)
  •  or Diving 7pm ($40-$50)
  •  or Artistic gymnastics 10:45am, 2:45pm or 7pm ($45-75) (walking distance to triathlon)
July 13th 9am Canoe Kayak
  •  or rowing $40
  •  or multi-day event (see below)
July 14th 9am Canoe Kayak
  •  or rowing $40
  •  or multi-day event
July 15th multi-day event
July 16th multi-day event

Multi-day events week 1:
July 11-15 Artistic Gymnastics ($45-75) 9 separate medal sessions
July 11-16 Badminton ($20-45)
July 11-16 Tennis ($30-$45)
July 13-20 Beach volleyball 9am, 2:30pm, 8pm prelims ($20-30)
July 14-18 Archery ($20-$35 at Varsity Stadium)
July 14-18 7pm Swimming ($40-$140)
July 16-19 6pm Track Cycling ($80-140)
July 16-19 8am golf ($45 prelim, $75 Sunday)
(other sports with multiple session week 1 include water polo, archery, badminton, baseball, dressage, field hockey, soccer, rhythmic gymnastics, judo, sailing, shooting, softball, squash, tennis, weightlifting and wrestling)

Weekend 18th-19th
July 18 7am Women's Marathon ($35 or free along the course)
  •  or 9am Women's Modern Pentathlon ($35)
  • or 10am Canoe/Kayak - slalom ($20 preliminaries - Minden Hills, ON)
  •  or 11:30am Sailing medal sessions (free)
July 19th 10am Rhythmic Gymnastics ($35-45 Toronto Coliseum)
  •  or men's Modern Pentathlon ($35)
  • or 10am Canoe/Kayak - slalom ($35 medals)
  •  or 11:30am Sailing medal sessions (free)
  • 7pm Trampoline ($40-50 - Toronto Coliseum) - no conflict with other events (or work/kids activities since it's a Sunday evening). Get to see all Canadian athletes who qualify for finals, going with daughter, sister and niece who would also love to see this event.
July 20th 10am Rhythmic gymnastics ($35-45)
  •  or multi-day event week 2
July 21 3pm and 8pm Beach volleyball ($35-$45)
  •  or multi-day event week 2
July 22nd 11am Cycling Individual Time Trial (free) Milton
  •  or multi-day event week 2
Multi-Day Events week 2:
July 21-25 6pm Athletics ($80-140 - at York University)
July 16-25 Basketball ($25-$75 - at Ryerson on subway line)
July 16-25 Volleyball ($20-$45 at Exhibition Centre)
July 20-23 Waterski and Wakeboard ($20-35 - at Ontario Place West Channel)
July 13-25 Field Hockey ($20 - $45 U of T Pan Am Fields)
(other sports with multi-day events week 2 include baseball, bowling, fencing, field hockey, soccer, handball, karate, racquetball, softball, table tennis, taekwondo)

July 25th 7am Men's Marathon (Ontario Place) ($35 or free along the course)
  •  and 1pm Road Cycling (Ontario Place) ($35 or free along the course)
  •  or 11am Basketball bronze ($45-75)
  •  or 4pm Basketball gold ($45-75) 
  •  or 6pm track and field ($80-$140)
  • or 3pm or 8pm Women's indoor volleyball medals ($35-$45 walking distance to Ontario Place)
Sunday July 26 5pm Closing ceremony
  • could also see race walk 7am but will have to miss final day events baseball, soccer, racquetball, softball, indoor volleyball

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