TORONTO – The Toronto Blue Jays sold out Tuesday night's Major League Baseball game against the Texas Rangers after offering $1 tickets in an effort to show Toronto remains vibrant despite SARS.
The sellout was announced before the World Health Organization lifted its warning against nonessential travel to Toronto, saying it was satisfied with local measures to stop the spread of severe acute respiratory syndrome.
The Blue Jays' parent company, Rogers Communications Inc., said it wants to "bring the community together at SkyDome ... to show its support for the city of Toronto."
The tickets sold for $1 Canadian, which is worth 69 cents in U.S. currency.
Fans bought tickets at a rate of about 2,000 an hour and SkyDome was sold out late Monday night. About 34,000 tickets were bought for the reduced price. The 16,000 fans who paid full price will be able to buy a $1 ticket for a later game.
With the average Blue Jays ticket about $14 American, the move is costing Rogers roughly $484,000.
The U.S. ambassador to Canada, Paul Cellucci, will throw out the ceremonial first pitch Tuesday.
While some visiting players have been nervous about traveling to Toronto, fans haven't been reluctant. For their three-game series against Kansas City, the Blue Jays drew 16,417 spectators Friday, 17,197 on Saturday and 17,059 on Sunday, their second-, third- and fourth-biggest crowds this season.
Blue Jays president Paul Godfrey estimated SARS already has cost the club the sale of 10,000 tickets and said inquiries for group sales have dropped substantially.