Written by by Kevin O’Hare, CNN
Fans around the world are reeling following the axing of the World Curling Championship, just months before the world’s top curlers take part in the 2019 event.
It was announced that the biennial event would be subject to review, with reports suggesting that it had lost more than $20 million over its lifespan. On Friday, news broke that Curling Canada had to make the bold decision to not move forward with the 2019 event in Vancouver, scheduled for next month.
The revised tournament will see the first four days of competition spread across two days, instead of four separate days of two matches each. It will also feature one extra day’s play and, as announced in October, more than 100,000 fewer fans will be able to watch the action — 13,000 spectators will be shut out from watching day one, while day two will only be accessible to 300,000 fans.
Curling Canada has requested that arenas across the country close down early on day five to accommodate a larger audience for day one of the event.
Curling fans have taken to social media, with many expressing their shock and dismay at the changes.
“Sorry curling fans, but it’s the best sport ever. What a sad day,” one fan tweeted , alongside a meme showing a needle puncturing an umbrella, with the caption, “Now you can’t even pick the place with 2 sides and 3 ends.”
One tweet from user Abby Lola said simply: “I’m sorry,” alongside a link to a still image of a black hole and “curling” written underneath it.
Others have noted that curling, while popular with a younger generation, is a man’s sport. One fan tweeted, “It’s a man’s sport, and men decide the things like seating.”
The men’s and women’s world curling championships are due to run from March 14-25 in Vancouver. Other events scheduled for this year, including the Rogers Cup and the Brier, do not appear to be affected by the reduction in competition, despite playing for a smaller crowd.