Only one side of the stadium will be open when the Toronto Argonauts rent Tim Hortons Field for their home game Saturday.
The Argonauts, forced out of the Rogers Centre by the Blue Jays’ playoff run — where they are playing their final “home” season before moving to Exhibition Place’s Bank of Montreal Field next year — will host the Calgary Stampeders in Hamilton at 4 p.m. on Saturday.
The Argos have rented Tim Hortons Field from the Tiger-Cats as part of the four promotions the Ticats are permitted in their stadium lease with the city.
The Argos, who are promoting and selling the game, decided to open only the east stands, although the media box atop the west stands will be in full operation.
They are also offering relatively cheap ticket prices: $25 for a seat from the end zone to the 10-yard-line and $35 for a ticket between the two 10-yard lines.
Tickets are available, with applicable fees, at ticketmaster.ca. The Argos are contacting their subscribers who had included the Oct. 17 game as part of their ticket packages.
Matt Afinec, the Tiger-Cats’ chief commercial officer, said the Ticats have access “to a limited number of tickets” for the Argos game which they will use as promotions via Ticats All-Access, the team’s online loyalty program. There are about 11,000 members of that program.
“We’ve had more requests than we actually have tickets,” he said.
Afinec says that, at the Argos’ cost, the city will provide its normal game-day services (such as security) and the Ticats will mobilize their regular game-day staff, which includes such services as running the scoreboard.
“We’re just providing the institutional knowledge of the stadium,” he said. “At the end of the day for us, if people are coming to the facility where we play our home games, we want them to have the best experience they can.
“If this gets more people into our beautiful stadium, we think it’s good for our business.”
The Tiger-Cats have only one more regular-season game remaining at Tim Hortons Field, Sunday Nov. 1 against the Ottawa Redblacks. The Argos are scheduled for four more “home” games, but the first will be in Hamilton and, team CEO Chris Rudge said in a release, if the Blue Jays’ season extends past the Divisional Series, it’s likely their next game, against Montreal on Friday Oct. 23, will also be held at Tim Hortons Field.
Argos’ spokesperson Eric Holmes says that fan parking lots in the stadium area will be open and the Argo players and staff will have access to the parking used by Ticat players and employees.
The Tiger-Cats will not vacate their locker-room as part of the arrangement. The Argos will use the visitors locker-room while the Stampeders will be in one of the soccer dressing rooms used during the Pan Am Games. The room was also the one in which the Argos dressed for the first game at Tim Hortons Field, on Labour Day 2014 when the stadium was only partially opened.
Somewhat overlooked in the wake of Jeff Mathews’ 385-yard, three-TD passing effort in Friday night’s 30-15 win over the Saskatchewan Roughriders, was the successful return to action of Ticat defensive end Eric Norwood.
Norwood, who’d made five sacks in the only five games he’d played this year, returned to action for the first time since the end of August. He made four tackles and was credited with a sack.
“I felt good, I was confident,” Norwood said. “I definitely got confident making a play (a tackle of Jerome Messam for a two-yard loss) in the first drive.
“And I was able to play against a cut block three or four times, the same block that took my MCL out.”
NOTES: With four catches for 163 yards (including an 87-yard TD romp) Terrell Sinkfield has moved into eighth place in the CFL combined-yards standings. He has 921 yards, which includes only 35 on the ground. Jerome Messam leads with 1,290. . . Brandon Banks is third in combined yards with 1,618, well behind runaway leader Stefan Logan who has 2,111. . . The Ticats are ranked seventh in the league with 12.9 penalties per game, just a half-penalty per game better than CFL-leading Toronto . . . Luke Tasker is the top Ticats ‘target’ with 55 receptions in the club-leading 79 passes thrown his way. . . After the weekend’s CFL games, the playoff races are suddenly much more interesting, with only the Saskatchewan Roughriders eliminated. The Tiger-Cats can help out the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, who are trying to both surpass the BC Lions for a western playoff berth and keep the Montreal Alouettes from earning the first-ever crossover berth by an eastern team. The Cats are in Montreal this Sunday and B.C. five days later. Meanwhile, the Bombers can help the Cats immensely because they play Ottawa twice and Toronto once in their final four games. The Cats are tied with the Argos for first place in the east, one game up on Ottawa, whom they face in the final two games of the season.