Ontario: Oakville announced as host city for second annual PointsBet Invitational

February 1, 2023 8:59 PM
Photo: By Fabien Perissinotto - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=47994788
  • Mark Keast, CDC Gaming Reports
February 1, 2023 8:59 PM
  • Mark Keast, CDC Gaming Reports

PointsBet Canada has taken a deep dive into the sport of curling in Canada, including a sponsorship agreement with Curling Canada.

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Wednesday’s announcement that the second annual PointsBet Invitational will be played this fall in Oakville, Ontario, is the latest chapter in that relationship.

Sixteen men’s and 16 women’s teams from Canada will take part in the competition, scheduled for Sept. 26-Oct. 1 at the Sixteen Mile Sports Complex. Teams will be chasing a prize purse in excess of $350,000 in a sudden-death single-knockout format.

PointsBet Canada is striving to build a uniquely Canadian operation. Curling is a sport deeply embedded in Canada’s identity, played by almost two million per year in Canada (pre-pandemic) in 1,000 clubs in every province and territory. More than 300 hours of Curling Canada events are on television each year and the national championships for both men’s and women’s always score big ratings.

Last year’s inaugural PointsBet Invitational was held at Willie O’Ree Place in Fredericton, New Brunswick.

A spokesperson from PointsBet Canada said they saw an “uptick” in betting interest during the last tourney, which featured 30 hours of live broadcast coverage across TSN and simulcast on ESPN 3 in the U.S. The spokesman said there was “solid engagement” on social media as well.

The PointsBet Invitational is the first major event of the 2023-24 campaign. Fans will get to see the results of off-season lineup changes, as Canada’s top teams ramp up toward qualifying for the 2026 Winter Olympics in Italy.

“We are thrilled to be bringing the PointsBet Invitational home to Ontario. It is a one-of-a-kind event with our nation’s best curlers,” said Nic Sulsky, chief commercial officer for PointsBet Canada. “2023 is going to be an amazing year for Ontario curling fans. Working with the Curling Canada team, we will offer new and exciting ways for fans to connect with their favourite curlers and athletes at the Brier, Men’s World Championship, and the PointsBet Invitational.”

Last September in Fredericton, Team Jennifer Jones won the women’s title, while Team Reid Carruthers won the men’s event.