Edmonton Elks to close upper bowl of Commonwealth Stadium for 2024 season

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The Edmonton Elks will be closing the upper bowl of Commonwealth Stadium for the 2024 CFL season so fans will only have access to tickets in the lower bowl.

In an email to season season-ticket holders, the football club’s interim president and CEO Rick LeLacheur said the move would enhance game-day atmosphere and bring “fans closer to the action.”

The capacity of the lower bowl is over 31,000, the email said, which means Commonwealth Stadium will “still have one of the largest capacities in the CFL.”

“We’re also confident that Edmontonians will step up and support their team beyond 31,000 fans for key games, in which case we will open additional seating in the upper bowl,” LeLacheur said.

In the last five seasons, the Elks have had 11 games with more than 30,000 fans. So far in the 2023 season, just the home opener against Saskatchewan (32,233) and the Labour Day rematch against Calgary (32,422) sold more than 30,000 tickets.

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For those who currently have season tickets in the upper bowl, 2024 season tickets in the lower bowl will be offered at the same price as 2023.

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Wayne Kunyk, a long-time Elks fan and 15-year season ticket holder, said the news caught him a bit by surprise.

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“It’s still sinking in, just the shock that after 15 years. I am going to lose my seats.

“I enjoy those seats,” Kunyk said. “I’m on the 25-yard line, I’ve got great sight lines, great views of the game, great people around me — people who have been there longer than I have.”

He said he felt like some kind of partial seat closure or roping off was coming down the pipe, he just wasn’t sure what it would look like or how it would affect his seats.

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“Depending where I go to… If it’s the same section, if it’s just right below me, yeah, that would be ok.

“I’m in a wait-and-see mood on that one,” Kunyk said.

In an interview with Global News on Wednesday afternoon, LeLacheur said that, for the most part, fans will kept in the same areas.

“We’re trying to do everything we can to give them grandfather rights … same yard line they’ve been sitting on … do all we can to move them altogether,” he said.

The main goal, LeLacheur said, is atmosphere.

“When you get a tighter bowl, everybody has a lot more fun.

“Our lower bowl will still seat more than four or five of the other CFL stadiums. When we have 25,000 – 30,000 in here, it looks all spread out. In one of the other CFL stadiums, it would be full.”

LeLacheur thinks the change will lead to louder fans and that will motivate the Elks to play their best.

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