Saskatchewan Roughriders hoping Grey Cup buzz will boost ticket sales

Further details have been released by the Riders regarding their COVID-19 vaccine verification program. Moises Canales-Lavigne / Global News

After a lost season in 2020 and a shortened 2021 campaign full of COVID restrictions, single game tickets for the highly anticipated 2022 season went on sale for the Saskatchewan Roughriders earlier this week.

”We can’t wait to get to the Rider games. We can’t wait to see our friends and to cheer on the Riders and see Gainer back on the field,” said Roughriders season ticket holder and former Regina mayor Pat Fiacco.

”This will be our first full season without restrictions which is really, really important and I think there’s a pent-up demand that we are sensing for normalcy — and in Saskatchewan, normalcy is heading to Mosaic Stadium to watch the Roughriders play,” said team President & CEO Craig Reynolds.

Read more: Saskatchewan Roughriders prepare to open training camp

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The excitement in Regina isn’t just for CFL football.  It’s for live events in general which was on display at Thursday’s Chris Stapleton concert at the Brandt Centre.

”We were just at the Chris Stapleton concert last night and it was absolutely incredible to see first of all a packed arena but everyone just having fun, smiling, it was as if it was a big release. I think people are waiting for this,” said Fiacco.

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It’s still early but thousands of tickets are still available for the Riders’ June 11th home opener and the Labour Day Classic with health and financial concerns still lingering from the pandemic.

”You can’t really decry the presence of television. What it’s done, it’s made it easier than ever for people to stay home and watch and it’s a lot more comfortable. It’s a lot cheaper. You don’t have people standing up in the middle of a play or people spilling beer on you. You don’t have all those little things that that can be irritating and you’re not paying $8 for a beer,” said Rob Vanstone of the Regina Leader Post.

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However there’s an added incentive to buy Roughriders season tickets this year. If you make the purchase it reserves your opportunity to buy a Grey Cup ticket in Regina in November.

”They’re going to renew those tickets for that Grey Cup ticket. It’s a hot commodity. I mean, Grey Cup games are sold out. It’s a national festival. That game is part of it but it’s a national festival,” said Fiacco.

Read more: Saskatchewan Roughriders select 8 new prospects in 2022 CFL Draft

“What we’re seeing this year is obviously a lot of interest around the Grey Cup. We’re seeing a lot of new season ticket sales and a lot of demand so we’re feeling it. It’s not quite back to ‘normal’ but we’re sensing that it’s on the right trajectory,” said Reynolds.

Fiacco agrees with the old sports cliché which suggests that “winning cures everything”.

”Winning is contagious and if the Riders start winning their first few games then of course we are going to see more people coming to the games. Let’s also keep in mind that with the pandemic last year we do have a lot of people from outside of Regina coming to our games and a lot of them stayed away. That’s not going to be the case this time,” proclaimed Fiacco.

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Whether the buzz this year will match last season’s home opener remains to be seen.

”We were really excited to sell out two home games during a pandemic. The home opener there was incredible energy. Incredible pent-up demand. That’s a game I won’t ever forget. Just the energy in the stadium was unreal,” said Reynolds.

Saskatchewan’s first preseason game is set for May 23rd at Mosaic Stadium.

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