Elks giving away 35,000 free t-shirts, pulling out all the stops to sell out season opener

Photo courtesy: Edmonton Elks

The Edmonton Elks’ snazzy new merchandise has been a smash hit with fans, but if you haven’t got your hands on an antler-adorned piece for your wardrobe yet, worry not. You can get yours free with the price of admission.

As Elks president and CEO Chris Presson told Terry Jones of the Edmonton Sun, the team will be pulling out all the stops to sell out the first home game under their new name. That plan includes giving away a simply obscene amount of branded gear when Ottawa comes to town on August 7.

“Our new logo has been a runaway hit and for Opening Night, we‘ll be giving a free ‘antler up’ t-shirt to the first 35,000 that purchase tickets,” Presson teased.

That won’t be the only thing in store for fans after waiting 677 days between home games.

There will be free soft drinks and popcorn for kids under 12 — a season-long promotion that will change each game — and a happy hour in the north endzone for those who enjoy juice that is a little stronger. A new mascot will be named and unveiled, legendary Bryan Hall will sing a new fight song in the third quarter and a pre-game ceremony is planned to honour former players and have them pass the torch to those bearing the new team name.

Those are just a few of the exciting bells and whistles planned, and the whole thing will culminate in a post-game fireworks display.

“We see our first home game this season as being an even bigger first game of the season than normal. When our players come out through the tunnel on Aug. 7, we won’t have played host to a home game in almost two calendar years,” Presson said.

“Everyone has been through a lot and we want to set the stage for Edmonton to celebrate. We want our community, our fans and our sponsors to feel appreciated that they hung in there with us.”

With a strong season ticket base, the team will have one month to sell a single game ticket for each of those 35,000 t-shirts to achieve a sell-out in 56,302-seat Commonwealth Stadium. That’s a big ask, but the team has internally set a minimum goal of 40,113 for attendance, the league-wide high from 2019 when Calgary came calling on Labour Day.

No matter how much cotton-polyester blend it takes, they plan to get there.