London Majors’ home opener sells out as fans prepare to return to Labatt Park

Tickets to the London Majors‘ home opener against the Toronto Maple Leafs sold out in just four days, reflecting a widespread appetite for a return to live events of all sorts after months of COVID-19 restrictions.

Under Step 2 of the province’s reopening plan, which came into effect June 30, outdoor sports games, leagues and events can go ahead at 25 per cent capacity, which works out to about 1,000 fans at Labatt Park.

Read more: London Majors prepare for fans, and IBL season

The entire 2020 Intercounty Baseball League (IBL) season was scrapped due to the coronavirus pandemic, though the Majors were able to play one game against Guelph in order to keep a historic streak alive — since 1877, at least one baseball game has been played at Labatt Park each year.

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“We did the legacy classic last year to preserve the historic nature of Labatt Park. That was a good, feel-good story,” owner and field manager Roop Chanderdat told Global News.

“But this is, you know, you’re playing a real game. It’s live … Fans bring a big element to the game. Once you’re on the field, you can feed off them both offensively and defensively.”

Chanderdat says stepping onto the field to practice, knowing that a game was coming up, was exciting.

“I can’t lie, I love being in Labatt Park, I think all the guys do. You go on the field, it just gives you a certain vibe and to know that you’re going to be playing a real game in front of fans, you’re excited.

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While tickets to Friday’s game are sold out, Chanderdat says, as of midday Wednesday, tickets were still available for Sunday’s game against the defending champion Barrie Baycats.

Read more: Labatt Park among 6 London sites to see $7.1M in federal, provincial infrastructure funds

He added that the Majors are fortunate to have support and cooperation from the City of London, the league, the Middlesex-London Health Unit, and others.

–With files from Global News’ Jake Jeffrey and Kelly Wang

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