B.C. Lions owner Amar Doman believes crowd of 40,000 is ‘attainable’ for Sunday’s West Semi-Final

Photo courtesy: Jeff Vinnick/BC Lions

B.C. Lions owner Amar Doman believes that a crowd of more than 40,000 spectators is a possibility for the team’s West Semi-Final clash with the Calgary Stampeders on Sunday.

“From what I’ve seen, it’s attainable,” Doman said during an appearance on the Donnie and Dhali podcast Friday.

Tickets to the playoff game have been selling fast, with over 10,000 purchased on the first day of priority availability. As a result, the Lions opened up the upper deck of BC Place for just the second time this season earlier in the week and the results have been as expected.

“Super strong. The lower bowl is gone and we’re going to the upper now, which is fantastic. I think it’s going to be so loud and I hope anyone that’s listening, please come down,” Doman said.

“We’re providing transport now from Vancouver Island and the Interior. We’re doing everything we can to revitalize and have a very good chance here at a Grey Cup run.”

The Lions averaged an attendance of 20,387 this season, an increase of 12.7 percent from 2019. The figure was buoyed by the 34,082 fans that attended B.C.’s home-opener against the Edmonton Elks on June 11, which also featured a live performance by popular band OneRepublic.

That game marked the first time the Lions had drawn more than 30,000 fans to a game in eight years, but the team’s first home playoff game since 2016 could far exceed that spectacle. With rain in the forecast, the roof will be shut at BC Place but Doman expects plenty of people to brave the cold for festivities well before the 1:30 p.m. PDT kickoff.

“I would just wear a sweater or have a little antifreeze before you show up,” he said with a laugh. “The atmosphere out front is going to be great, I’ve got it all tented and we’ve got a big band playing up front. We’ve got Sarah McLachlan opening off and, of course, we’ve got Steven Page [of the Barenaked Ladies] at halftime, which is going to rock.”

“The whole show is going to be great. I think everyone will start partying in the morning. We’re doing pancakes and mimosas for five bucks. The party will start at 10:30 and I look forward to seeing everybody there.”

The Lions qualified to host the West Semi-Final by virtue of their 12-6 regular season record. The game will mark the first home appearance by Canadian quarterbacking sensation Nathan Rourke since his recovery from Lisfranc surgery, adding to the allure of the event.

“It’s going to be one hell of an experience and the crowd is building,” Doman said. “I’m really excited because if we can get that sort of extra edge, drowning out the Calgary offence, I’ll tell you what; that matters in football. You guys know it does.”

“The louder we can get on Sunday, the more it is going to help Nathan Rourke on our side on the offence. Let’s try and drown these guys out.”