Winnipeg Blue Bombers president and chief operating officer Wade Miller believes CFL fans would brave the winter cold for live football.
If a potential COVID-19 shortened season has to be pushed into December on the 2020 calendar, the temperatures could get frosty.
“Everything’s on the table to figure out a way to play. We’re Canadians. We can sit outside any time of year. If Green Bay can sit outside in January, we can as well. Like I said, everything’s on the table,” Miller told Winnipeg Free Press reporter Mike McIntyre.
“I’m much more positive that we can do it in a safe way than I was six, eight weeks ago. We’re going to find a way, as a team and a league. We’re going to run everything into the ground to find a way to play this year.”
The CFL regular season was scheduled to kick-off on Thursday, June 11, but commissioner Randy Ambrosie has stated the earliest the league might return to play is September. As of July 5, Manitoba had 325 total coronavirus cases, by far the least of any province which has a CFL team inside its borders. It could be the safest place for the three-down league to take the field inside a bubble concept.
“We need all the different provinces to catch up to Manitoba and keep moving forward. We should be proud of being Canadians and Manitobans right now, watching what’s going on around the world and especially south of us,” Miller said.
“Like everybody else, I’m watching everything. There’s a big difference between outdoor venues and indoor venues. I think outdoor venues will have the opportunity, when public health officials say it’s safe to do so, to go back first. That is positive.”
IG Field is an open air venue, but there are lots of boxes to check before games could possibly be kicked off. The CFL and players’ association must come together on a COVID-19 collective bargaining agreement. Then the league, province and selected city would have to approve a return to play plan.
“It’s a tough time for everybody, and we all have to be patient through this, which nobody wants to hear. We’re working real hard to get our players back on the field playing in front of their fans,” Miller said.
“We just need to understand that we’re going to need some patience here, which I don’t have much of. I get it. But we’re going to keep working to find a solution.”