Hot ticket

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by Teri Lake

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HALIFAX – The 50/50 frenzy has hit the Halifax Metro Centre.

This year’s Brier is taking 50/50 draws to new heights. Each draw has featured the classic curling prize lottery using a new electronic system developed by 50/50 Central, a company based in Summerside, P.E.I.

50/50 Central technology shot to stardom at the 2010 IIHF World Junior Championship held in Saskatoon and Regina, Saskatchewan.

Organizers there had to beef up both the number of fixed sales locations and handheld devices mid-event because they just couldn’t meet the purchase demand – not to mention the ATMs were perpetually empty.

The 50/50 frenzy culminated in the Canada vs. US final game, which awarded $149,700 to one Saskatoon-based fan!

Here at the Brier we haven’t seen pots that crazy… yet. But here’s how easy it is to get caught up in the fun. What makes the electronic system so unique is that fans can see the running total, up to the second (!), of the 50/50 pool on the arena’s big screen and in the Keith’s Patch. As soon as someone buys a ticket, you can literally see the numbers go up… and up… and up!

Tom Brockway from Bedford, NS (photo) took home $18,075 – his half of the cash collected during Friday night’s 1 vs. 2 game featuring Ontario’s Glenn Howard and Northern O’s Brad Jacobs. This was a record prize awarded at the Metro Centre and beat out the previous top spot held since the venue hosted IIHF World Juniors in 2003.

There isn’t any data available yet on how the big picture looks for comparing this Brier’s 50/50 earnings to previous years, but Ken Myers of the host committee confirmed that the opening draw “more than doubled” the same draw of our ’03 Brier.

And this isn’t just good news for fans – it’s great for the curling community too. Any net profits will be used for the development of curling with the majority of these funds staying within the province of Nova Scotia.

There you have it. The 50/50 is a win/win. So keep buying, Halifax... your next-to-last chance is right now, as we get ready for the Brier semi: ALTA vs NONT.