With the Canadian Football League confirming that the 2020 season will not start until at least September – and may not start at all if the COVID-19 situation does not allow it – the BC Lions have announced a full slate of benefits for season-ticket holders in a bid to keep their business.
BC Lions president Rick LeLacheur said the benefits will differ depending on whether a shortened 2020 season is played, but all season-ticket holders who have paid in full by Dec. 1 will be eligible. The benefits – if a shortened season is played – include the ability to spend the remaining balance on their original season-ticket account on additional single-game or season tickets at half price, as well as the option of donating the credit towards tickets for essential front-line workers. The amount can also be applied towards potential playoff games or the 2021 season ticket renewal.
If the 2020 season is cancelled, season ticket holders will still have the option to retain their priority status for a 2021 season and have the balance go towards that, LeLacheur said. In addition, ticket holders will receive 2020 ticket pricing (meaning no price increases for the next season), as well as a full slew of new benefits like a 10% credit that can be used for 2021 tickers – or as season-ticket renewal deposits for the 2022 season.
Those benefits will also include the ability for a free seating-category upgrade for one game in the 2021 season, as well as an increase to the merchandise discount from 15% to 20%.
“We ask you that certainly, if you can stay with us, that would be greatly appreciated,” LeLacheur said in a video message thanking Lions fans. “We are in challenging times, and we want to work together for the success of the BC Lions football club... We hope you stick with us because we are in this together, and we look forward to football in the near future.”
The CFL issued its announcement on Wednesday, saying that – barring a vaccine – the 2020 season will not start until September at the earliest. It added that many municipalities have already decided to ban large gatherings until that time, making any summer restart an impossibility.
The 2020 Grey Cup, originally planned to be held in Regina, will instead be hosted by the team with the better record in the shortened 2020 season if it were to be played. Regina will now host the 2022 Grey Cup. But the league also acknowledged the possibility of a lost season, a fact that LeLacheur reaffirmed.
“At this point, we’re just not sure if it’s going to be with fans, without fans, perhaps in another one location in Canada, or in fact no season at all,” he said. “We can assure you the decision will be made based on the safety of our fans, our players and our staff.
“We hope when we get on the field, we will show you that the changes we’ve made will be very attractive to the success of the BC Lions football club.”
The 2020 season would be BC’s first under new head coach Rick Campbell, who won three Eastern Division titles and a Grey Cup during his six-season stint with the Ottawa Redblacks.