Lions could open upper bowl at BC Place due to ticket demand for home opener

Photo courtesy: B.C. Lions

The B.C. Lions are expecting a relatively large crowd for the club’s home-opener on Saturday night when they host the Edmonton Elks — so much so that the upper bowl at BC Place could be open.

“(Opening the upper bowl) hasn’t been done in a long time, so I’m getting overwhelmed with enthusiasm,” team owner Amar Doman told Donnie and Dhali.

“We don’t know how many we can get up there but if we can get that opened up the Lions team that’s been fantastic in ticketing and marketing, they’re working their tail off getting this drum beat. It’s happening and if we can get this season off to a big push and have some folks up top, it’s a dream come true for game one.”

The lower bowl at BC Place in Vancouver seats approximately 22,000 fans, so the upper bowl has generally remained closed for Lions games in recent years. In 2019, attendance peaked at 20,950 when Saskatchewan visited in late July, while the home-opener against Winnipeg drew just 18,058 fans.

The club averaged 12,507 fans per game in 2021, though capacity at BC Place was limited due to COVID-19 protocols.

Doman indicted that the club plans to give season ticket holders the first opportunity to claim the best seats in the upper bowl located in the first few rows near midfield. He is very pleased with the support the club is receiving from fans and the local community.

“It’s exceeding my expectations, frankly. There’s no quick-fix for anything in life whether it’s business, marriages, whatever you want to say, but I’ll tell you if you look at the journey as a long one and you structure it correctly and start building it with a good foundation like my dad used to tell me, that’s the way you do it and that’s what we’re doing right here in B.C.,” said Doman.

“There’s nothing wrong with the product — in fact, it’s just getting eyeballs back into BC Place, back on the networks watching this. It’s fantastic and I’m really excited about what the team is going to do.”

Ticket sales in B.C. have decreased steadily since a peak of 30,366 per game in 2012, falling over 40 percent to an average of 17,803 in 2019.

Doman wants to see more young fans at games this season and has worked with BC Place to make concessions more affordable. He indicated that a kids meal including a hot dog, chips, and a drink can now be purchased for $10.

The crowd on Saturday will also be treated to a performance by OneRepublic, whose song “I Ain’t Worried” is climbing the charts after being featured in the hit film Top Gun: Maverick.

“There are so many bands touring right now it’s hard to get an A-list band because everyone’s back out after the COVID thing,” said Doman. “We are so fortunate to get OneRepublic and everybody’s extremely excited about it.”

Doman purchased the Lions in August 2021 and has repeatedly stated his commitment to helping regrow the club’s fanbase.