While Pokemon itself has been around for ages, Pokemon Go, created by Niantic as a location-based reality game for mobile devices, was released in July 2016. The game has been wildly popular all over the globe since its release and has had a wide variety of events planned in its name, compelling tens of thousands of people to attend at times.
In July 2017, Niantic sponsored a Pokemon Go Fest in Chicago, which attracted over 20,000 players from all over the world. Fed up with all of the Pokemon Go events planned everywhere except here, Calgarian and devoted Pokemon player Troy Best says it’s time for Canada’s turn.
“The Pokemon Go community in Calgary thinks that Canada deserves its first-ever Pokemon Go event,” Best said.
“We also think that there is no better time to have it, nor place, than the upcoming 2018 Calgary Stampede.”
“Being as that the Stampede has been happening since the late 1800s as an annual gathering of people from all over the world–and Niantic is all about community, events, fun, and history–we feel there can be no better choice for Canada’s first official Pokemon Go event.”
Mike Finch, fellow Pokemon enthusiast, started a petition from his home in Strathmore, Alta., in hopes of getting the word out to the public and to Niantic.
“There are 65 million players monthly still playing,” Finch said. “Even if they can run just a portion of the Stampede, it would be a great business opportunity for both Niantic and the Calgary Stampede,” Finch said.
“It would really draw in a number of non-Albertans–or even Canadians going to the Stampede–as well as the people who already live here. I’m tired of seeing all the events they have all around the world; it’s time to get something happening up here for the first time.”
The petition had over 250 signatures as of March 29. Finch said he’s hoping to get many more as he and Best work on expanding the petition to other cities.
Finch and Best have also enlisted the help of Allan Mach, the administrator of one of Calgary’s Pokemon Go Facebook pages, and coordinator of many Pokemon Go events within the city.
“If we could get enough exposure and get Niantic’s attention, then we could potentially pull it off,” Mach said.
“The Pokemon Go community is still a very active community.”
Calgary Stampede manager of public relations Jennifer Booth told Global News the idea sounds “very interesting.”
“As for this Stampede, it is getting close to crunch time,” she wrote in a statement. “But we’re always open to new opportunities, so maybe in the future.”
A Pokemon Go event hosted at Prince’s Island Park in Calgary on Sunday, March 25 saw thousands of Calgarian players participating in hunting the creatures (photos above).
“It’s amazing how a mobile phone game with over 100 million downloads has sparked a global community of players,” Best said.