Arts & Life, Prairie Post

Oprah brings message of hope to Calgary, but demands you go bankrupt to hear it

To many people, the news today that Oprah Winfrey, Queen of Everything, is coming to Calgary in January was met by gasps, applause and screaming. It’s true this is huge news. Oprah, THE Oprah, is coming to Calgary to ‘spread her message of hope,’ and this is probably the only opportunity many western Canadians will have of ever seeing her in person. Full disclosure, when I saw the news popping up on Twitter, I got excited as well. I grew up in a home that watched Oprah. My Mom would have her on every day at 5pm while she cooked us kids dinner. It was a constant; we knew that at 5, Mom got control of the T.V. and Oprah would be on.

I’m sure this was a common refrain that was heard through many homes. And for good reason, the woman knew how to deliver a talk show that appealed to many people, but especially to the stay-at-home mom variety. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying this is a bad thing, I think that Oprah did make a great show – especially in its last few years. And I never minded that my Mom would switch to Oprah; I liked her interviews with celebrities and I’ll admit that I got in on her book clubs. She was a part of my childhood and later on, my adulthood.

So, when I saw the news that she’ll be in Calgary in January I called my Mom and gave her the information. As I was on the phone I excitedly clicked my way over to the Ticketmaster page for Oprah’s appearance, and that’s when I saw it. The ticket prices. The price range is $121.25 – $434.75. One hundred and twenty one dollars to sit in the nosebleeds of the Saddledome and watch Oprah talk on a jumbotron? Um, no thanks. I know there are people who would pay anything to see Oprah, and there are people who would do anything to just be in a room with her, but this is ridiculous. The woman is a billionaire. How much of this money goes to her? How much does her show cost to put on? Is she secretly the lead singer in a huge rock band with pyrotechnic displays, revolving stages and an immense light show? Is her guest God Himself?

I don’t know who sets the ticket prices. For all I know Oprah may have nothing to do with it. But I do know one thing: charging us lay people an arm and a leg to come and hear a message of hope from one of the richest people in the world is beyond inconsiderate. I know she’s super famous. I know she’s Oprah. But really, it’s all quite over the top. If they made it more affordable, more people from a variety of income brackets would be able to go. Daughters would be able to buy tickets for their mothers. The people who need this supposed message of hope the most would be able to go.

I don’t mean to tick anyone off with this, but I’ve been looking on Twitter and many people seem to be agreeing with me. It’s too expensive. How in the world can Oprah justify charging that price? The promoters are expecting between 8000-11000 people to attend. That’s so much money. What she should really do is give a large portion of it to Hurricane Sandy recovery efforts or some other worthy cause. But that’s just my 2 cents.

So now I want to know what you think. Are you excited about Oprah coming to Calgary in January? Would you pay anything to go, or do you agree that this is all a bit ridiculous? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.


Krista Wiebe is a freelance writer and editor based in Calgary, Alberta. Follow her on Twitter @KristaWiebe.

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