Winnipeg Blue Bombers’ President and CEO Wade Miller has some good news for football fans in the province of Manitoba.
Though it remains unclear exactly how many fans will be permitted to attend games, the Blue Bombers are putting the finishing touches on a plan to host fans in 2021.
“Hopefully we can scale it up as the season goes on,” Miller told Jeff Hamilton The Winnipeg Free Press. “It’s about doing what’s right and working with public health, both provincially and federally.”
Miller said that every CFL team is working on a plan to host fans, all of which will be unique.
Winnipeg’s plan is 95 per cent complete and has the advantage of utilizing a state-of-the-art facility that can seat almost 33,000 people. Season ticket holders will be contacted regarding ticket sales and game day logistics in the next six to eight weeks.
Some elements of the new plan will include limited concessions, mandatory masks except when eating or drinking, and the addition of 250 hand sanitization units at IG Field. The entire stadium will also be cashless, which helps limit contact between fans and game day employees.
It has been previously reported that CFL teams do not expect to operate at 100 per cent capacity at any point in 2021. Some NHL teams are currently petitioning to have fans in attendance at games, which would set a new precedent ahead of the CFL season.
Ticket sales are a key factor in the economic viability of the Canadian Football League. In 2019, gate receipts accounted for 35 per cent of the gross revenue in Edmonton, Saskatchewan, and Winnipeg.
“It comes down to developing a comprehensive plan to restart our stadium, for the safety of our fans, staff and players, which is paramount all the time and it’s consistent with what we do at the Winnipeg Football Club,” said Miller.