‘This is going to be bigger’: B.C. Lions owner Amar Doman teases another ‘A-list band’ to play 2023 home-opener

Photo courtesy: Paul Yates/BC Lions

The B.C. Lions no longer have a star Canadian quarterback to drive ticket sales but owner Amar Doman will continue to pull out all the stops to pack the stadium in Vancouver.

Joining popular local sports show Donnie and Dhali on Friday, Doman revealed that the team will be hosting a pre-game musical act at their home-opener for a second year in a row. Fans can expect even larger festivities than last year.

“We’re going to call it concert and kickoff; that’s going to be kind of the model of how we want to do this year after year,” he explained.

“I’ll be bringing in another A-list band, so we’re just finalizing details on who that’s going to be. But it’s going to be an event and I think we’re going to have a lot more than we had in the house last June. This is going to be bigger.”

In 2022, the Lions opened the season by hosting Grammy-nominated pop rock band OneRepublic. The event attracted 34,082 fans to BC Place, making it the largest crowd for a Lions game in eight years.

While attendance did not reach those heights again last season, the club saw consistent improvement in ticket sales as the year progressed. 30,114 fans turned out for the Lions’ West Semi-Final victory over the Calgary Stampeders, a game which featured Grammy winner Sarah McLachlan singing the national anthem and a halftime performance from Steven Page of the Barenaked Ladies.

Though Doman promises a similar marquee musician will perform for fans in 2023, booking a headliner for June 17 against the Edmonton Elks remains a work in progress.

“It’s not gonna be Soft Cell, I can tell you that,” he joked with hosts Don Taylor and Rick Dhaliwal. “Listen, if you have my seat here, how do you do this? This is a hard thing because if you go country, half the people hate it. If you go hard rock, three-quarters of the people [hate it]. Pop… this takes a lot of thinking and then you’ve got to figure out which bands are available.”

“Of course, post-COVID, all these guys are busy travelling the world trying to make up for two years of sitting on their hands. It’s a difficult piece to put together but I’m working my butt off to make sure this comes out real good.”

While splashy musical acts will get first-time fans through the doors, the Lions are doing more to keep people from across British Columbia coming back to the stadium throughout the year.

After rave reviews for the team’s effort in busing in fans from Vancouver Island and the interior for the playoff game in 2022, Doman disclosed that they are in talks with several bus companies and regional airlines to provide affordable packages on game-days. While nothing is confirmed yet, the organization is open to subsidizing the costs and believes more out-of-town fans will be able to attend games thanks to the number of 4:00 p.m. Saturday starts next season.

What can be confirmed is that ownership remains committed to making CFL games an affordable outing for the whole family.

“No inflation here. I’m not going to raise pricing on anything. We have not done that,” Doman insisted. “Whether it’s the outside street parties, the $5 beer, the [margeritas], and more importantly, ticket prices. Season tickets are moving well. We’re very proud of where we’re at.”

Just under two years into his tenure as owner, Doman hopes that those initiatives can keep the organization trending in the right direction. Blowing the roof off BC Place in Week 2 is just part of that process.

“We’re going to be really pumping up the dome. Again, I’m making it an event every year for the opener,” Doman promised. “No matter how the team is or what we’re doing, we’re gonna have a party to kick off the Lions every single year I’m involved.”