Lions’ president Rick LeLacheur: playing in 2020 ‘keeps us relevant in the market’

Screenshot courtesy: B.C. Lions

B.C. Lions president Rick LeLacheur recognizes the importance of potentially playing games in 2020, if it’s safe to do so amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Commissioner Randy Ambrosie stated the earliest the CFL might return to play – for a shortened but meaningful season – is September due to COVID-19. Ambrosie has been leading the governors and presidents through possible playing scenarios.

“To play really keeps us relevant in the market. I know the players for sure want to play because that’s when they get paid,” LeLacheur said on TSN 1040 radio in Vancouver.

“We’re still hopeful that we’ll play in the fall, but there still needs to be a lot of work done and decisions made by the health care experts. Hopefully we can get a shortened season in by the fall.”

BC Place management has been involved with other facilities around North America trying to develop best practices for hosting games with and without fans. It’s clearly apparent there are going to be changes in how stadiums and arenas operate during and following the coronavirus crisis.

“In a section if you were going to sit two groups of four in one row, you’d have to use 48 seats to get the six feet. Eight people would take up 48 seats,” LeLacheur said.

“It looks like on that model it would probably be in the area of 15 percent, maybe 20. It would take a mixture because we do have individual single tickets, we have some in threes, fours, fives.”

LeLacheur feels like there are only three days during COVID-19 isolation: yesterday, today and tomorrow. However, the president and his staff continue to work at home in preparation for a potential – shortened – season. The Lions have filed a plan with the ministry in B.C. for how the franchise would operate if it were granted the ability to work from the team headquarters.

“When that happens we’ll start, but right now there’s really on pressure to start to get back to the facility,” LeLacheur said.

The work that’s needed is getting done and it’s apparent we’re not playing this summer, so we’ve got a few months in advance.”