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Full capacity at CFL games possible this year if Alberta reaches vaccination targets: Kenney

Click to play video: 'EE Football Team records multi-million dollar loss in 2020' EE Football Team records multi-million dollar loss in 2020
Edmonton's football team is approaching a shortened 2021 season with caution. The club is looking at all options at play as they face a daunting shortfall of cash. Morgan Black reports – May 11, 2021

Alberta’s premier is expressing hope for full capacity crowds at CFL games this summer.

Jason Kenney says the Edmonton Football Team and Calgary Stampeders could sell as many seats as possible in their outdoor stadiums if certain targets are met under the province’s reopening plan.

The province’s plan calls for all restrictions to be lifted two weeks after 70 per cent of Albertans aged 12 or over have received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine with numbers of cases declining as well.

“As long as we hit those targets, which we anticipate doing by the beginning of July, it will be full capacity,” Kenney said.

Read more: EE Football Team records significant financial loss in 2020

A statement from the Stampeders said heading into the summer months, the team was encouraged by the announcement:

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“The football team has been in contact with the province throughout the pandemic and will work closely with health officials on plans for the safe return of fans to McMahon Stadium for the 2021 season.”

Global News reached out to the Edmonton Football Team for reaction to Wednesday’s news and was told, “At this time the club has no response to the announcement of the re-opening plan for Alberta.”

Click to play video: 'Edmonton summer events organizers excited by Alberta’s relaunch plan' Edmonton summer events organizers excited by Alberta’s relaunch plan
Edmonton summer events organizers excited by Alberta’s relaunch plan – May 26, 2021

The five other provinces with CFL teams have not yet specified when full capacity crowds will be allowed to return.

The CFL is aiming to start its 2021 season on Aug. 5, delaying the start from June because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The league cancelled its 2020 campaign due to the novel coronavirus.

The league still has many hurdles to clear to get off the ground, including having return-to-play protocols approved by all six provinces and the Public Health Agency of Canada. There’s also the matter of the CFL and CFL Players’ Association reaching an agreement on an amended collective bargaining agreement.

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Read more: CFL pushes back start to 2021 season, reduces number of games due to COVID-19

The CFL is a gate-driven league and doesn’t enjoy nearly the same revenue from television as other North American pro leagues, which have played with limited or no crowds.

Last month when the league announced it was pushing back the start of the ’21 season from June to August, it stated it would require a “significant’ number of fans in stadiums when play did resume.

“We have a business model that’s far more reliant on fans in the stands than other leagues,” commissioner Randy Ambrosie said last month.

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