Jaakko Luumi, the financial director of the Ice Hockey Federation and deputy general secretary of the World Cup, says that it is still difficult to assess the financial effects of the Lions’ early relegation.
For the first time in its history, Latvia advanced to the semi-finals of the Ice Hockey World Cup when it unexpectedly defeated Sweden 3-1 in the quarter-finals played in Riga on Thursday.
– We managed to make a small miracle, which will remain in the history of Latvia with golden letters. However, the competitions are not over yet, the team is ready for the next step, head coach Harijs Vitolins said.
The success brought the passionate Latvians to the streets. Some of the fans gathered to cheer in front of the Swedish Embassy in Latvia.
– There is currently a nation completely confused by the situation. It can certainly be seen in the number of Latvian fans Jaakko Luumi says.
On Friday, Air Baltic announced additional flights between Riga and Tampere. According to the information received by Luum, up to 12 mechanical fans would come from Latvia to watch the weekend’s medal games.
Thanks to the break on Friday, many people will also be able to take the car ferry from Latvia to the ongoing competitions on Saturday.
According to Luum, it is difficult to assess how the Lions’ elimination in the semi-finals will affect the finances of the World Cup. There are also semi-final pairs Germany–United States and Latvia–Canada.
– Finland’s relegation will certainly have some kind of effect on the number of tickets sold. At the moment, it is difficult to estimate how many Germans and Latvians will come. Unfortunately, there are not many fans from North America.
– As of yesterday, we only had about 10,000 tickets out. From that you can already calculate that the effect is not dramatically large, even though Finland dropped.
Luumi trusts that the competition will remain on the roof, even if the host country is no longer participating in the struggle.
– We trust the Latvians a lot. There will be no shortage of atmosphere in their games. This is a unique thing for them. You could compare it to when Finland started to get by in the early 1990s, what the atmosphere was like then. This is probably the Latvians’ 1994 or 1995. Let’s see what kind of carnival they create.
The Ice Hockey Association has received criticism for expensive tickets during the games. If tickets are expensive for Finns, they are also expensive for Latvians, whose home price level is lower than in Finland. According to Luum, the Ice Hockey Association is considering lowering ticket prices for the last games in order to get as many spectators as possible.