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JONES: Oilers may be out but 50-50 ticket draw must go on

Technical difficulties earlier on Aug. 7, 2020 prevented many from purchasing tickets for the Edmonton Oilers 50/50 draw.
Technical difficulties earlier on Aug. 7, 2020 prevented many from purchasing tickets for the Edmonton Oilers 50/50 draw.

The Oilers are out. But their world record-setting 50-50 must go on without them!

You can stop Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins but the Edmonton 50-50 has become unbeatable, a juggernaut, hitting $15,220.440 — that’s fifteen million dollars — in ticket sales for Game 4. That’s a tax-free payout of $7,610,220.

With the way Edmonton’s luck works, expect the Oilers to win the actual NHL Lottery and Alexis Lafreniere on Monday.

Fifteen million dollars! That’s a bigger “gate” than a any Stanley Cup playoff take for an NHL owner in history. And it’s all going back to the people.

At a time when sports leagues are playing before empty seats to salvage the television money from their seasons, this has become one of the most phenomenal financial sports success stories of all time.

Yes, the Oilers 50-50 looked as bad as the Oilers in their own end Saturday due to technical difficulties.

“The technology could not handle the demand and we apologize to Oilers fans for the frustration they experienced,” said OEG Senior VP Tim Shipton.

Some ticket buyers were double charged by a technological complication and there’s a major mess involving refunds and ticket cancellations to figure out. Time and patience will win out. Meanwhile this is a huge victory for Edmonton.

“We can run a 50-50 if the Oilers are out,” said Natalie Minckler, executive director of the Edmonton Oilers Community Foundation. “But we first have to make that decision, then determine the specific dates and then apply for a license with Alberta Gaming & Liquor Control as our current license was for this round only.”

They wouldn’t dare to do anything otherwise!

They wouldn’t WANT to do anything otherwise!

That should cover everybody involved.
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In 38 games featuring 50-50 draws this season, the Oilers sold just over $5.8-million of 50-50 tickets. Wednesday they damn near did that in a day. Friday they more than doubled that in a day. It may be an almost unmanageable monster to operate, but it’s the most marvelous little monster since Gritty joined the Philadelphia Flyers.

So Edmonton has lost the Oilers from the playoffs. Can you imagine the outcry from the public if they took this away too? With the Oilers, it’s wait ‘til next year. With the 50-50 it’ll be wait ‘til next week’s games.

The Edmonton 50-50 went from $762,550 ($381,275 payout) to $3,259,445 ($1,697,223) to $5,417,130 (2,708,565) to $15,220.440 ($7,610,220).

In four hockey games that’s ticket sales of $24,659,565 and a payout of $12,329,782.

Friday was plagued by technical problems. You can understand how they were pulling their hair out by postponing the draw for the winning number.

But they need to fix it and move on and play again. The hockey team doesn’t have that option.

There are still at least 36 game days to go before Gary Bettman presents the Stanley Cup on Rogers Place ice.

Forget the economic impact and the beauty shot tourism promotional value involved, the 50-50 has become the No. 1 benefit of playing host to this event.

Can you imagine if a player won?

The NHLPA has released the player fund distribution from this year’s post-season pot that was doubled from $16 million to $32 million.

The Oilers, Jets, Predators and Wild players departing Hub City as qualifying round losers, will each receive $20,000.

First round losers will take home $40,000, second round losers will receive $75,000, conference final losers $100,000, Stanley Cup runners up $150,000 and Stanley Cup champions $227,124 (all funds in US dollars).

This is not the first time the 50-50 at an Edmonton sports event has become part of the storyline.

The NHL’s first outdoor game, of course, was held here in the form of the Heritage Classic on Nov. 22, 2003.

The event became legendary, of course, for all the Winter Classic’s and Stadium Series games it inspired to follow but also for the image of the Edmonton fans.There were 57,167 of them that sat through two games that day, the first featuring Wayne Gretzky and the Oilers legends and Guy Lafleur and the Montreal Canadians legends.

The fans sat through that, with all those famous players taking turns scraping the ice in the snow globe scene and were still in the seats as the temperatures dipped to -22ºC (-30ºC with wind chill) for the NHL regular season game between the two teams. Edmonton fans themselves became famed for hanging in there throughout both games.

But talk to anybody that was there. The reason most of them endured until late in the third period was the world record 50-50 (it was capped at $75,000 at the time).

The 50-50 has long been a big thing at Edmonton Ex-imos CFL football games with six-figure payouts actually contributing to ticket sales and the club’s league-leading attendance totals. On the night of July 14, 2017 the EE game night payout was a record $435,919. The winners, Samantha and Quintin Ebertz have since been buying four season tickets per game, in addition to their own, to give fans who have never gone to a game before to watch the team play in person.

The 50-50 became a big part of the story when the IIHF World Junior was held here in 2012. An Edmonton fan went home with $147,000 from the Canada-USA New Years Eve game. A Los Angeles Kings scout Michael Futa won it one game. It was for $84,642.50. Peanuts.

Copyright Postmedia Network Inc., 2020

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