The Vancouver Sun - B.C. Lions will play pre-season game at UBC


VANCOUVER — The B.C. Lions will play their home pre-season game under the lights, against the Edmonton Eskimos, on Friday, June 19 at Thunderbird Stadium, the Canadian Football League team announced today.

The Lions and the University of B.C. are partners for the event, which UBC's director of facilities and business development Kavie Toor hopes will build the sport on campus as well as grow the Lions' audience.

"It's a big win for us," Toor said. "With the hiring of Blake Nill (as UBC football's head coach) and top recruits like (quarterback) Michael O'Connor, it adds to the growth of the game and the awareness of university football. Both groups (Lions and Thunderbirds) will work closely together in areas such as marketing, entertainment, food and beverage. We're co-hosts of the event, versus the Lions just using our field."

UBC had pushed for a Saturday afternoon, June 20 kickoff to attract more of a family crowd, but the CFL wanted all pre-season games completed by June 19.

The Lions are shut out of BC Stadium Stadium in the month of June because of the FIFA women's World Cup soccer tournament.

“We’re pleased to have both the date and location of the preseason game now finalized,” Lions president and CEO Dennis Skulsky said in a statement. “The size and layout of Thunderbird Stadium allows us to offer some very exclusive game-day opportunities that we cannot undertake at BC Place, so we believe it’s going to be a memorable experience for everyone.”

With the stadium’s limited seating capacity (3,500), the Lions will offer season ticketholders first crack at purchasing tickets for the 7 p.m. kickoff.

Toor said the university is hoping to sell additional standing room tickets to boost the audience closer to 8-10,000. Prices have yet to be announced, but standing room tickets are likely to be in the $25 range, he said.

Lions play their first pre-season game Friday, June 12, in Calgary.

B.C.'s home opener is scheduled Friday, July 10, against Saskatachewan at BC Place.

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