The BC Lions are off to a roaring start in 2022, and they haven’t even played their first game yet.
The Lions are closing in on a lower-bowl sellout of BC Place for the first time in years for Saturday’s season opener against the Edmonton Elks. A peek at Ticketmaster shows not many tickets are available for the game.
The Lions, like the Vancouver Whitecaps, typically limit their home game capacity to the lower bowl at most, which holds 25,500 people for football. The full capacity of the stadium is 54,500.
That could change on Saturday.
Helped by a pre-game concert featuring OneRepublic, new Lions owner Amar Doman says the Lions are looking at potentially opening up the upper bowl for their first game of the season.
“The momentum is building each day. We’re very excited about it,” Doman said in an interview with Don Taylor and Rick Dhaliwal on CHEK TV this morning. “There’s an opportunity for us to open the upper bowl, which would be great.”
After an offseason of planning, Doman is looking to put his stamp on the Lions, a franchise he bought in August of last year.
“This hasn’t been done in a long time,” said Doman. “I’m getting overwhelmed with enthusiasm.”
"There's an opportunity for us to open the upper bowl.."@BCLions Owner Amar Doman tells us about ticket sales for Saturday night and other events planned.
— Donnie & Dhali (@DonnieandDhali) June 7, 2022
Indeed it has been a long time since the Lions opened up the upper bowl for a game.
Pandemic restrictions last season limited capacity to 12,500, but attendance has mostly been in decline for the Lions since 2014, when the team averaged 28,011 fans per game, with a season-high attendance of 33,752 according to CFLdb Statistics.
The Lions last averaged over 21,000 in 2016, and have been under 20,000 since then. Average attendance slipped to 17,803 in 2019, which was the lowest average attendance by the team since 1998. They haven’t drawn over 25,000 fans for a game in six years.
But with a new local owner, this is very much a new era of Lions football.
Tickets to Saturday’s game are available for as low as $29, and include entry to the OneRepublic pre-game concert. Steven Page, formerly of the Barenaked Ladies, will perform outside the stadium at the Lions Backyard Street Party, beginning at 5 pm.