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Edmonton Oilers’ virtual 50/50 draw shatters record for largest sports raffle – Edmonton

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The Edmonton Oilers Community Foundation’s 50/50 raffle surpassed $3.2 million on Monday night, setting a new record for sports raffle fundraisers.

The Oilers beat out the $2-million record set by the Toronto Raptors fans in the 2019 NBA Finals.

When it comes to the NHL, the Vancouver Canucks previously held the record, with a $1.4-million sale benefiting Canucks for Kids.

In Edmonton, the winner of Sunday’s pot — who has not yet been announced — will take home more than $1.6 million.

For EOCF’s executive director, Natalie Minckler, the interest in the new online 50/50 during the COVID-19 pandemic has been nothing short of impressive.

“It’s overwhelming. I’m almost speechless,” she said. “We’re thrilled, we’re surprised, we’re shocked, we’re humbled.”

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Season-ticket holder Brad Bartko is superstitious about buying 50/50 tickets. For him, that purchase is synonymous with watching hockey.

“We’ve been going to games for 20-plus years and it’s always been a tradition — grab a 50/50 on the way to the seats,” he said.

Bartko said his family and friends even have a system, with each of them buying from a 50/50 vendor in a different part of the arena to try and increase their odds of success.

With fans at home during the pandemic, the process has become virtual.

“I think online’s made it easier, I think online’s made it better. It’s all of Alberta, so anybody can purchase a ticket,” Bartko said.

And that interest sure has been piqued. During the 2019-2020 season, the combined jackpot from 38 home games was $5.8 million.

Now, in just two Stanley Cup qualifiers, fans have spent more than $4 million on 50/50 tickets.

READ MORE: Edmonton Oilers obliterate organization’s 50/50 draw record with over $3M in sales Monday night

The transition online hasn’t been a smooth ride, however. Many fans took to social media to voice concerns about the site crashing, and being unable to buy tickets.

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The process improved from Game 1 to Game 2, however, Ryan Kendall spent almost the entire game refreshing his phone before he finally managed to get in on the odds. He said the process was painful.

“If I’m getting froze out, how many other people are getting froze out?” he asked. “[Planning on] spending $50, $100, $200. How much more could that pot have been had there not been so many glitches?”

The issue is simply demand, according to the CEO of Ascend Fundraising Solutions, the company behind the online sales.

Daniel Lewis said at peak points Monday evening, including the hour before puck-drop, fans were purchasing $150,000 worth of tickets every 10 minutes.

“As we start to see that these volumes are something that we’ve never experienced before, we’ve been adding more server capacity as aggressively as we can,” he explained.

He noted part of the issue is a rule in Alberta that states the servers must be hosted locally.

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READ MORE: West Kelowna man wins $700K in Canucks’ 50-50 raffle

“I expect in the next 12 months, the Edmonton Oilers Foundation is going to crack $5 million,” Lewis said.

He’s hopeful the process will improve with each game, allowing for additional ticket sales.

As for those wanting to get in on the action, Minckler has a word of advice.

“Don’t wait,” she said. “If you are interested in buying a 50/50 ticket, our sales open at 9 a.m.”




© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.



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Bundesliga offers broadcasters IP-based streaming, Claro and Band secure rights

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The German Football League (DFL) is providing its international rights-holding broadcasters with IP-based live streaming through its tie-up with Amazon Web Services, the cloud computing subsidiary of Amazon.

Ahead of the start of the 2020-21 Bundesliga tonight, the DFL has detailed the additional broadcast distribution services on offer to rights-holding broadcasters.

Bayern Munich face Schalke 04 in the season opener and Bundesliga International, the league’s commercial rights arm, has finalised more rights deals shortly before the kick-off of the new season. These include a deal in Latin America, where Claro Sports telecoms giant América Móvil has acquired the rights with the exception of Brazil, where a free-to-air rights deal has now been agreed with commercial broadcaster Band.

Through its work with AWS, the Bundesliga’s live programming will be available to rights-holding broadcasters as cloud-based streams.

The league said today (Friday): “The DFL is now enabling IP-based live streaming to meet rising demand for over-the-top (OTT) content. AWS Elemental MediaLive provides the DFL with flexible capacity for encoding, independent of resolution or codec requirements.

“The fully managed service hence enables the DFL to implement encoding without having to invest in new hardware to do so, avoiding lengthy integration and upgrade cycles.”

The DFL is to create the international media products for all aspects of the Bundesliga matches before feeding the corresponding video signals into AWS for automatic processing and encoding using a variety of AWS Media Services.

The league detailed: “From that point, Cologne Broadcasting Center (CBC) will use LOGIC’s ‘PORTAL’ to simultaneously control and monitor the event-based live streams. Up to 13 channels will be launched each match day, which will be controlled by the operators at CBC.

“To supply AWS Elemental MediaLive the needed inputs, DFL will use AWS Elemental MediaConnect to transport high-bandwidth mezzanine video streams securely through encryption, providing DFL with the flexibility to perform tasks that are common but not necessarily easy.

“On the output side, DFL will use AWS Elemental MediaPackage as an origination service to generate all the proper types of Adaptive Bit Rate (ABR) outputs to suit the full range of media partners’ and their viewers’ end-user devices, such as smartphones, computers and large screen smart TVs, without needing to increase the encoding workload.”

Rights-holding broadcasters will be able to use the league’s ‘Customer Service Tool’ to book streams from Bundesliga matches with the DFL using AWS’ content delivery network and DNS (Domain Name System) service to generate a URL for broadcasters to access the streams.

The Bundesliga became the first football league to work with AWS in a deal announced at the start of this year. The initial focus of the deal, which runs for at least five years, includes the supply of advanced real-time statistics for viewers during live coverage and highlights clips, providing personalised content on digital platforms and using AWS cloud infrastructure, advanced machine learning and artificial intelligence technologies.

Last-minute rights deals finalised

Meanwhile, Claro has announced its acquisition of Bundesliga rights across Latin America (excluding Brazil).

Matches will be shown on the Claro Sports channel with the telecoms giant continuing its cross-platform approach through the free streaming of matches on the Marco Claro digital platform. Claro Sports and media group Marca first entered into a content alliance at the start of 2017 and with the aim of becoming the regional reference point for sports news.

The first match to be aired by both Claro Sports and Marca Claro will be Sunday’s clash between VfL Wolfsburg and Bayer Leverkusen.

In Brazil, commercial broadcaster Band has, as expected, agreed a deal to show one match per week on free-to-air television.

Band is to air Sunday’s match between RB Leipzig and Mainz as it kicks off its Bundesliga output.

Bundesliga International was left with the rights to sell one match per match week to a linear broadcaster after signing a wide-ranging deal in Brazil with OneFootball, the Germany-based digital platform, and the Sportfive.

Fox Sports, which has merged with ESPN in Brazil, held the Bundesliga rights in Brazil from 2015-16 to 2019-20 as part of an 80-territory deal across various international territories across Asia, the Americas and Europe.

The represents the second major European football league shown by Band after it recently bought the rights to the Italian Serie A in a one-season deal. Band also holds rights to the Russian Premier League and the women’s top-tier league in Brazil.

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Markham partially reopens sports, cultural facilities

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Preventing the spread of COVID-19 isn’t the only factor driving the partial reopening of sports and cultural facilities in Markham this month.

Residents will get their rec fix based on demand since council is not prepared to hit them with the required tax increase deemed necessary to open all of the city’s centres under current coronavirus protocols, Mayor Frank Scarpitti said.

“The operation of these facilities is already heavily subsidized by property taxpayers,” Scarpitti said, adding “council is not prepared to further burden residents with higher property taxes by reopening all of our community centres resulting in additional cost for services and dramatically less customers due to COVID-19 protocols.”


By offering recreation programs based on demand, it allows the city to evaluate services in order to control costs, he added.

Services will gradually resume at select arenas and soccer domes, pickleball, badminton and table tennis will restart at the Pan Am Centre, while the Aaniin Community Centre and the Angus Glen Tennis Centre will be open to sports groups and registered participants only.

If the city had resumed full operations at all of its recreation and cultural facilities, while also meeting the COVID-19 protocols, Scarpitti said it would have required a doubling of subsidies and an increased cost to taxpayers that would be the equivalent of an additional six per cent property tax rate increase.

Appointment-only visits will be implemented at cultural venues such as the Markham Museum and Varley Art Gallery. 

All programming at the Flato Markham Theatre has been cancelled, however, for the fall of 2020 due to current COVID-19 protocols.

Scarpitti thanked Markham residents for their continued co-operation with COVID-19 health and safety measures in effect in all reopened cultural and recreation facilities. The measures are in accordance with the province’s limits on facility capacities, York Region’s directive on the mandatory use of masks or face coverings and City of Markham policies.

“I am confident we will find a good balance between reintroducing safe and enjoyable recreation programs and cultural services, while minimizing the impact to our property taxpayers,” he said.

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Colorado Schools select sports moving to the fall

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COLORADO — The Governor’s office is giving schools the option to move football, field hockey, and sideline spirit to the fall, which was originally slated to start in the springs due to COVID-19.

The Colorado High School Activities Association (CHSAA) requested variances for remaining fall sports but they are still being considered by the Governor’s response team.

“I think they looked at the numbers and they looked at what can be done to safely put students back on the field,” Bert Borgmann, Assistant Commissioner with CHSAA.

Originally, the athletic schedule put in place for this school year was for football, field hockey and cheer to kick off in the spring. Schools like Harrison School District Two are sticking to that format.

“The original plan gave our athletes the opportunity to get on a field and participate, “said Dave Hogan. “There were state championships there and there were there for everyone.”

But others like D11 are bringing Friday night football back this fall. D11’s Athletic Director, Chris Noll says it’s partly due to the lessening of current restrictions.

“We just felt like we need to get the kids back to some normalcy,” said Noll. “We feel we can return safely.”

Regardless of what each school choses to do, CHSAA has a schedule for both seasons.

“A champion will be crowned in both A and C seasons and if there are some limited teams in C there will be some different types of scheduling that will be created,” said Borgmann.

Prior to the decision, several students and parents voicing their concern on there not being football in the fall.

“The reality of recruiting is, if you are high school senior at this point and don’t have a Division One offer, you’re not getting a Division One offer,” said Borgmann.

As for other fall sports who didn’t get lumped in with this current variance like boys soccer and girls volleyball, CHSAA says the governor’s office has yet to approve.

“We were disappointed we wanted our volleyballers to have an opportunity, they will compete till just be in season C,” said Noll.

As of Thursday, Harrison, Sierra, Canon City and the Classical Academy have decided to not move to the fall.

Response from the Governor’s Office:

“CDPHE responded to the requests that were submitted to the agency on Saturday of this past week, which included requests for football, field hockey, cheer and dance and volleyball. CDPHE provided conditional approval for the increased rosters for all of the outdoor sports that were listed in the letter, but denied the request for variances related to indoor sports. Soccer was not one of the sports included in Saturday’s letter.”

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