BC Lions hoping for more fans in stands by scheduling home dates late

B.C. Place Stadium, home of the BC Lions. Shutterstock image

The BC Lions will return in 2021 with a 14-game schedule that leans heavily on home dates in September and later months.

The Lions will begin the season with three road games out of four - Aug. 6 at Saskatchewan, Aug. 12 at Calgary and Aug. 28 at Ottawa. The only August home date will be on Aug. 19 versus Edmonton.

Then, starting Sept. 11 versus Ottawa, the Lions begin a stretch of four home games out of five. Six of the last 10 games of the season will be at B.C. Place Stadium.

The CFL and Lions officials have said they will try to get to at least 50% capacity at all games this year, and the early schedule reflects an emphasis of home games for the four markets - Calgary, Edmonton, Saskatchewan and Winnipeg - most likely to loosen attendance restrictions early.

B.C., meanwhile, has been among the most cautious of markets, with club president/CEO Rick LeLacheur confirming that the Lions hope to have a crowd of 5,000 in the stands for the August home date before a Stage-4 reopening opens the gate for full crowds at B.C. Place.

In the meantime, tickets will be released to the public after the club gives season ticket holders (who are being contact by the Lions right now) first choice of what games they want to attend. LeLacheur confirmed that the initial game’s 5,000 seats will likely require a lottery of some sort, since the number of season ticket holders exceed that number.

Exactly how the games after August will work - the  exact number of fans allowed, the availability of tickets for the public, additional health and safety requirements - is still up in the air (pending the province’s own health regulations), LeLacheur added. But in the meantime, the club is expecting a spike in interest in tickets as the pent-up demand for public sporting events looks to what may be the first pro sports game in town with live fans since March 2020.