2010 Winter Olympic Games License Plate
The Milestones

20,010 | 45,000 | 80,000 | 90,000 | 100,000 | 130,000 | 140,000 | 150,000 | 175,000

Plate 20,010 is issued - June 12, 2007
Only two months into the program and the Winter Games plates are selling like gangbusters (which comes as no surprise to this observor)!  While ICBC had forecast a run in the range of approximately 100,000 plates for the five year duration of the program, 20,000 plates had already been sold within the first 7 weeks and it is now hoped that the figure will utlimately top out in the 150,000 range.
Back row: VANOC Executive Vice President Dave Cobb (L), and ICBC's Lower Mainland Director of Broker Relations and Sales Ed Novak (R).
Front row: Olympic snowboarder Alexa Loo (L), and Michael Sentes (R).
Olympic snowboarder and uber BC plate-babe Alexa Loo (L) and Michael Sentes (R) showing off the 20,010 license plate issued - 753-MAW.

To celebrate this milestone, ICBC organized a media event in Richmond in which local resident Michael Sentes (pictured above) was celebrated for having been the 20,010 person to order a pair of Winter Games plates by being presented with a plaque and a Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games commemorative sweater.

While it is great to see that there has been such a high level of support for the plate, it is questioned why ICBC chose to honour the rather awkwardly numbered 20,010 plate issued as opposed to waiting for another 90 sets to be issued and comemorating the 20,100 plate - which, on the face of it, would seem to be more numerically identifiable with the date of the Olympics than is a plate whose first four digits represent a year (2001) that will be almost a decade removed from the start date of the Vancouver Games.
Not to further belabour the issue, but ... 753-MAW is also an odd choice to represent the 20,010 plate issued as, sequentially, it only represents the 18,753 plate in the passeneger run (20,010 would belong to 010-MBA), while the highest passenger number spotted on the road at this time was 333-MCN (being the 52,333 plate in the passenger series). Clearly, ICBC had to make a lot more plates than would have been issued to date in order to meet demand around the province, which explains the discrepancy between the highest plate number spotted versus the actual number issued. Nevetheless, 753-MAW?!?!?  I would have suggested using plate 010-MBA or possibly some other combination such as 010-MBC - as in 010 for the '10 Olympics, and MBC as representing the "BC" Olympics.
Of interests to motorists who have alreayd purchased their Olympic plates, it was formally announced by ICBC at this ceremony (although the information was already available on their web site), that should motorists decide to cancel their plates after December 31, 2010, they will be entitled to keep their front plate as a souvenir (this will certainly be a boon to collectors).
Furthermore, whereas all Winter Games plates were to have been surrender to ICBC by December 31, 2012, it has now been announced that this sunset clause has been removed and motorists may keep displaying and renewing these plates.
ICBC was also gracious enough to release some stats, which are never easy to come by, and that indicate approximately 13,000 plates have been sold to date in the Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley; 2,700 on Vancouver Island; 3,000 in the Southern Interior; and 1,400 in the North.
The 45,000th plate is issued - August 13, 2007
Well, the pace has yet to slacken and these plates continue to sell like gangbusters.  On August 13th, ICBC announced that 45,000 Winter Games plates have now been sold, with an amazing 400 sets a day be issued by Autoplan brokers - and we are only 4 months into the program!  If this pace can be sustained through to the end of the year, it is possible that ICBC might meet its objective of 100,000 plates within the first 8 months of what is suppose to be a 4 year program.
Unlike the issuance of the 20,010 plate in June, there was no special ceremony or designated plate this time around.  However, out of curiosity, this writer decided to do a little math using the ratio deduced from the 20,010 plate ceremony (i.e. 94% of Winter Games plates are passenger), and came up with 165-MCC as sequentially representing the 45,000 plate.

In place of a ceremony, ICBC used this opportunity to announce the start of a new contest for Winter Games plate owners in which they can enter their license plate number for a chance to win a "2008 Pontiac Vibe, donated by the Pontiac Dealers of BC."  A special web site: www.showyoursupporttowin.ca, was created (and picture at left), replete with a "FAQ" page on the first day, in which motorists could enter their plate number.

As further enticement, ICBC also announced that weekly prizes would be drawn every Monday for 17 weeks starting on August 20, 2007 and ending on December 10, 2007.  Ten entries are to be drawn each week with the winners awarded thier choice of either one of 100 sweatshirts or one of 70 ball caps (each with an approximate retail value of $30) - provided that they can successfully answer a skill-testing question (the answer to which I worked out as 99).

Wait, did you hear something? A back flip maybe? Is that not Harry Bains (NDP license plate critic) being quoted in the local media on the issuance of the 45,000 plate as believing ... wait for it ... "that the plates look good"!!  It would seem that Harry might be admitting that the NDP dropped the ball on this one, and was a little too quick to criticise - but fear not you plate loathers out there, Harry and Carol James still won't be putting one on their own cars (yet!).
The 80,000th plate is issued - January 23, 2008

Why is this man smiling? Lets take a step back and see if that helps....

Hmmm, what is he holding?
Yes, I too would be grinning if ICBC had decided to award me with the coveted first plate issued in a series (as well as a nifty scarf) - let alone "000-MAA" from the Olympic base!
However, following a number of urgent queries with the good folks at ICBC it was disclosed that our smiling friend, Allen Reiffer, had not been awarded the first plate in the series as the picture shown above initially seemed to indicate (what he is holding was described to this writer as a "prop").
Rather, he was being forced to settle for a Pontiac Vibe as part of being named the grand prize winner in the "Show Your Support to Win" contest that ICBC had launched in August 2007.

I still can't help but wonder which is truly the better prize? The one which is unique and one-of-a-kind; or the one that is going to depreciate, require expensive maitenance, and carry higher insurance rates?

Show Your Support to Win promo winner, Allen Reiffer, with his new vehicle and holding a 2010 Winter Games licence plate.
ICBC's Marion Phillips, Regional Manager of Marketing and Communications, handing Allen Reiffer (L) the keys to his new Vibe. Also shown is ICBC's Ted Ockenden, Kamloops Driver Service Centre Manager (R).
Unlike those of us who waited with bated breath for months on the announcement of the Olympic plate, and who rushed out to our local Autoplan dealer on April 15th to camp over night in the hopes of landing a low numbered plate in the "MAA" range (only to be presented with a highly pedestrian "MBV" suffix), it seems Mr Reiffer sauntered in to his local Autoplan dealer sometime in July only because he "liked the look and slogan, and wanted to show his support for the Games" - and now he wins the car too! But I digress...
The real news is that ICBC used the occasion to announce that 80,000 Olympic plates have now been sold, putting them within twenty thousand of their target only nine months into the program.
While the pace appears to be slowing down from last summer, I would not be surprised if they make the mark by April 2008. No word from NDP License Plate Critic, Harry Bains, on this latest milestone.
For interests sake, I took this opportunity to do some calculations, and I think the BC Olympic plate has now become the best selling specialty Olympic plate in North American plate history. Keep in mind that New York did not promote the 1980 Lake Placid Games on its plates, and Alberta did a very restricted run for the 1988 Calgary Olympics, and as for California with the 1984 L.A. Games, well, who cares. So, the only real competition comes from our friend and nemsis: Utah, and its 2002 Salt Lake City Games.
I tried to make some queries with the Utah Division of Motor Vehicles to see how many of their Olympic plates had been issued prior to the cessation of the program in February 2002. However, once the DMV people found out who I represented (i.e. BCpl8s.ca) all communication was abruptly ended for they knew that I was on to something!
Turns out the highest Utah Olympic plates issued is probably "618P7", but because of my flimsy knowledge of Utah's issuing sequence this means nothing, however, I was able to track down a news article from February 2002 stating that something along the lines of 77,000 plates were issued.
On this basis, and with 80,000 plates now issued, I delcare BC the Gold Medal Winner! Ha-ha Utah, you can take your "Greatest Snow on Earth" slogan and bow down before "THE BEST PLACE ON EARTH" - thank you very much.
The 90,000th plate is issued - March 3, 2008
The final push to 100,000 Olympic plates being issued within the first year of the program is on, as ICBC has now announced that 90,000 have been sold and that another contest is being launched to help boost sales!

ICBC came up with this graphic (it is not my handiwork).
This time, once the 100,000 plate has been issued, a random draw will be held for two tickets to the closing ceremonies to the Games. All motorists who have purchased an Olympic games plate will automatically be entered in the contest, but so will anybody willing to write a 200-300 word essay on "What the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games Closing Ceremonies mean to me"!

At first, I thought to myself who the heck would opt to write the essay when they could simply fork out the $35 and buy a set of plates. But, after reviewing the contest rules, it does not appear that the essay has to be in support of the Olympics, gramatically correct, or even in the English language (I wrote mine in Klingon)! Basically, ICBC probably won't even be reading the essay's (just making sure the entry is accompanied by one) beforing entering the essayist into the contest. So, as the old truism goes, "enter once, and enter often" ...

The 100,000th plate is issued - April 9, 2008
Unlike previous milestones, the announcement related to the 100,000 plate was very subdued as it is assumed that all the Corporation's resources are being marshalled for the fesitivites expected on April 25th for the announcement of who has won the coveted tickets to the open cermonies.
Interestingly, this writer was made aware of the news on April 16, 2008, which also happens to mark the first anniversary of the plates being released.
The 100,000th plate is celebrated - May 12, 2008
Stop the presses!

Olympic curler Georgina Wheatcroft (back); plate 230-MFM (middle);
and Kelly Milroy of Westbank (front), purchaser of the 100,000 Olympic plate!
On May 2, 2008, ICBC rolled out its red-carpet treatment (their promotions team must be becoming expert at these "milestone events") and staged a photo-op in Westbank attended by Olympic curler Georgina Wheatcroft and ICBC's Regional Manager (Sales and Marketing), Chris Gibson, along with the 100,000 plate purchaser; Kelly Milroy (the formal press release was sent out 10 days later).
According to ICBC, Mr Millory was awarded with a plaque to mark the occassion as well as a gift basket to thank him for his support.
Moreover, according to ICBC's Jeff Schulz, Vice President, Strategic Marketing: "Selling 100,000 Winter Games licence plates in one year demonstrates British Columbians are proud supporters of the Games." Alternately, it could be argued that motorists are desperate to rid themselves of the tired old "Flag base" and have flocked to the Olympic base as it is the only option available.
In terms of the regional distribution of the Olympic plates, ICBC advised that approximately 64,000 plates sold in the Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley, 13,000 sold on Vancouver Island, 16,000 sold in the Southern Interior and 7,000 sold in Northern B.C.
The 130,000th plate is issued - October 23, 2008
It has been five long months since we last had a milestone announcement from ICBC regarding the sales of the Olympic base, but today my friends, our appetite has finally been sated!
While sales have definitely slowed down over the same period in 2007, the Corporation still managed to moved 30,000 more sets in the past six months (about 5,000 sets a month or 150 sets a day).
The latest break-down shows that approximately 84,543 plates have been sold in the Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley; 16,049 sold on Vancouver Island; 21,271 sold in the Southern Interior; and 8,615 sold in Northern B.C.
While Dave Cobb, Executive Vice President of Revenue, Marketing and Communications at VANOC stated to the media that he felt "many British Columbians [are] supporting the Games and our athletes through the purchase of the plates", we here at BCpl8s.ca still think that a large degree of the success of the plates is related to pent-up demand for something other than the 23 year-old Flag Graphic base. Nevertheless ...
Taking a page from the 2007 "Show Your Support to Win" campaign, ICBC announced the "Behind the Drive" campaign, which offers some lucky person the opportunity "to attend a men's ice hockey event at the 2010 Olympic Winter Games". No word yet on whether this "ice hockey event" will be an actual medal game at "Canada Hockey Place" (aka General Motors Place), or team Kazahkstan warming-up before practice at UBC?

To enter the contest one needs to navigate their way to the "Behind the Drive" web site at www.behindthedrive.com. ICBC is also using this site to "help profile some of BC's athletes and showcase what's behind their drive to the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games."

There are some nifty multi-media features here including video profiles of some Olympians and ten free song downloads of musicians (principally Keith Urban - Oi, Oi, Oi) selected by the athletes.
But, for our purposes here at BCpl8s.ca, the best part of the site is the photos of the athletes taken in front of vehicles sporting the Olympic license plate. We are assuming that these are suppose to represent the athletes "own" vehicles as, for the most part, they display generic plates, albeit with some odd quirks.

Alexa Loo

Jeff Kitura

Sonja Gaudet
Take the photo of Alexa Loo for instance. While we are loath to criticise the uber-BC plate babe (by the way, we love the new haircut!), you have foresaken the decal box provided expressly for the day decal and have thrown off the whole symetry of your Olympic plate design Alexa!
Surely Sonja Gaudet knows that you are suppose to display your registration decal on the rear plate and not the front plate, while we are thinking Jeff Kitura is a bicycle enthusiast who does not own a vehicle as he has had to borrow the coveted 000-MAA plate for the photo shoot (again, the registration decal goes should be displayed on the rear plate).
That said, they are very nice studio photos and we are looking forward to seeing more athletes pictured with their Olympic plates.
140,000 plates are issued - February 12, 2009
Under the title of "ICBC proud to support 2010 Winter Games", the Corporation put out a News Release today in which it was mentioned, almost as a footnote, that more than 140,000 Olympic license plates have now been issued.
The purpose of the release, however, was really to announce that ICBC will be allocating approximately 75% of the 2,264 tickets it requested for the Games as a reward to "customers, business partners and suppliers."
The remaining 25 percent will apparently be used by ICBC employees that have a legitimate business purpose, such as hosting customers and business partners, while a small number of employees who participate in various corporate health and wellness activities will also be entered into draws for the other tickets.
Of interest, the Corporation indicated that a better publicised announcement may be coming in the next little while as they intend to enter lucky customers names to win tickets in some "program soon to be announced." We await with bated breath!
150,000 plates are issued - June 26, 2009
After covering eight separate media releases over the past two years, we apologise for any repetition that might be occuring in these posts as ICBC is using a boiler-plate approach to marking these milestones and there are only so many ways I can spin it.
So, 150,000 plates have now been issued and Lyle Short of Maple Ridge was singled out as the recepient of the 150,000th set of plates. This honour comes with a "special reward" - unfortunately for Lyle it is not a Pontiac Vibe, such as the one that was issued to the fellow who received the 80,000th pair of plates, but some "event tickets" for the Winter Games.
ICBC's Jeff Schulz, Vice President of Strategic Marketing, is quoted, again, as saying he believes that "these phenomenal sales really demonstrate the passion and enthusiasm British Columbians have towards the Games."
We believe that Jeff has missed the point entirely, and that British Columbians are probably more pasionate about ridding their cars of the tired old "Flag" graphic base in favour of something (anything) else.
The latest issuing statistics show that approximately 98,000 plates sold in the Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley; 18,000 on Vancouver Island; 24,000 in the Southern Interior and 10,000 in Northern B.C.
With 18 months left before the program expires on December 31, 2010, it will be interesting to see how many more of these plates the Corporation will be able to flog. I am going to guess that there will be renewed interest in the months leading up to the Games in Febraury, but that few will be sold after that.
160,000 plates are issued - September 15, 2009
As in the past, ICBC tied the latest milestone into the announcement of the contest to award some tickets to various Olympic events. To quote from the media release:
With only 150 days to go until the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, ICBC is awarding 150 pairs of Olympic tickets to its customers to thank them for getting ‘behind the drive' and supporting the Games.
Earlier this year, ICBC launched its Tickets to 2010 campaign and customers who purchased special 2010 Winter Games licence plates by June 14, 2009, were automatically entered into a draw to win one of 150 pairs of 2010 Winter Games event tickets.
175,000 plates are issued - January 19, 2010
What more can I say after almost three years?
Of interest in today's media release was that, with 24 days to go till the Opening Ceremonies, there has been a slight up-tick in sales with approximately 15,000 plates being sold in the past 4 months (whereas it had previously taken 3 months to move 10,000 plates).  Not surprisingly, Lower Mainland motorists appear to be purchasing more of the plates than their Island or Inland neighbours as we get closer to February 12th.
Also of note, there is some conjecture that a plate from the high-end of the passenger series was spotted a few weeks back (i.e. a plate ending in "MJA"), which leads one - or, at least me - to beleive that the Corporation may be running low on plates. It will be interesting to see how long after the Olympic`s conclude that the Olympic plate continues to be offered.
Otherwise, let the Games begin!
184,000 plates are issued - May 12, 2010
As we are now on the downside of the Olympic plate program ICBC does not appear to be making much of the Olympic plate milestones anymore (probably because they are running out of stock), it was not surprising to find the latest statistics related to sales of the plates burried in an Information Sheet related to the Corporation's sponsorship role in the Games.
Interestingly, it was revealed for the first time that the program has generated approximately $10.1 million to help ICBC cover the cost of its $16 million contribution to the Games.
It was also mentioned that approximately 184,000 sets of plates have now been issued, but the regional breakdown provided only showed an increase of 3,000 plates being issued in the Lower Mainland with the other regions of the province unchanged from the numbers released in January 2010 (so where did the other 6,000 sets of plates end up?).

© Copyright Christopher John Garrish. All rights reserved.