2022-06-16 09:34:36 By : Mr. WARREN NG

More than 80 per cent of the tickets have been sold for the 2022 Grey Cup game, to be played Nov. 20 at Mosaic Stadium.

The Saskatchewan Roughriders are hoping to beat Edmonton twice this week.

Saturday’s CFL game against the host Edmonton Elks is one thing. There is the accompanying objective of boasting the fastest Grey Cup sellout in history — the record of six days currently being owned by Edmonton, which set the mark in 2010 when the last of the 63,317 seats were devoured in short order.

As of Monday, more than 80 per cent of the seats had been sold for the 2022 Grey Cup game, to be played at Mosaic Stadium on Nov. 20. The remaining tickets, numbering about 6,000, are to go on sale to the general public Tuesday.

“There has been a strong pick-up predominantly from our season-ticket holders, but there has also been really strong interest from other teams’ season-ticket holders as well,” Roughriders president-CEO Craig Reynolds told the Regina Leader-Post on Monday.

“Everyone’s excited about the first-ever Grey Cup game at new Mosaic Stadium and it’s showing in the pre-sale activity.”

The Roughriders have more than 20,000 season-ticket holders, all of whom had first option on securing their seats for the 109th Grey Cup — and the fourth to be played in Saskatchewan.

The previous Regina-based championship game was capped by the Roughriders’ 45-23 victory over the Hamilton Tiger-Cats on Nov. 24, 2013 at Taylor Field.

Appetites for another home-field Grey Cup victory were whetted Saturday when the Green and White opened its 2022 regular season in robust fashion, defeating the Tiger-Cats 30-13.

“(Saturday’s result) does nothing but help the momentum that I’ve already seen, if I’m being honest,” said Reynolds, who is co-chairing this year’s Grey Cup Festival with Barry Clarke.

“Tickets (for the Grey Cup) are selling at a pace that we’ve never seen, so we’ve got many parts of the stadium already sold out. With some of the momentum that might have been accelerated from the weekend, we think that this game is going to sell out very, very quickly.”

One factor is supply and demand, considering there will be far fewer people at the 2022 Grey Cup than at any of the previous three league finals that were played in Saskatchewan.

The first Regina-based Grey Cup, as much as it was successful, was not a sellout. It drew 52,064 spectators on Nov. 19, 1995, when the Baltimore Stallions defeated the Calgary Stampeders 37-20.

The Stampeders had also paid a visit on Oct. 14 of that year, when the Roughriders won 25-20 before a presumably unbreakable franchise-record crowd of 55,438. The installation of temporary bleachers doubled Taylor Field’s capacity.

When the Grey Cup returned to the Queen City on Nov. 16, 2003, Edmonton downed the Montreal Alouettes 34-22 before 50,909 attendees.

Then, of course, there was 2013, when temporary seating swelled the capacity to 44,710.

This time around, capacity will be roughly 34,000. Mosaic Stadium has 33,350 permanent seats. Extra bodies will be accommodated by selling standing-room spots.

There was more elbow room on Saturday, when the paid attendance was announced at 28,216. Reynolds said Monday that approximately 24,000 fans were actually in the stadium.

“The no-show total this weekend was a little bit higher than we had hoped for, obviously,” he said. “When we looked at it, it was almost entirely our rural fan base.

“That told me a couple of things. It told me that there could be some in-the-field (farming) activity that was impacting attendance. But then it also told me that it likely was the cost of gas starting to impact not only the number of sold tickets, but also the number of folks that are able to come to every game.”

The Roughriders’ announced attendance for their 2021 home opener — the team’s first game in two years, due to COVID-19 — was 33,350. The team’s first home game in 2019 attracted a Canada Day crowd of 30,121.

The other two home openers at the new stadium drew 33,350 (2017) and 29,788 (2018).

After road games against Edmonton (Saturday) and Montreal (June 23), the Roughriders will dive into a hectic July that includes four home dates — against the Alouettes (July 2), Ottawa Redblacks (July 8), Toronto Argonauts (July 23) and B.C. Lions (July 29).

Beginning in October, the six-per-cent PST will be applied to tickets for sporting events. However, tickets for late-season games that are purchased before October will not be subject to the government-issued surcharge. The same applies to 2022 Grey Cup tickets.

Roughriders season-ticket holders have until Monday at 11:59 p.m. to claim their Grey Cup seats.

The remaining tickets go on sale to the general public Tuesday at 10 a.m. Those seats can be purchased via TicketMaster or by calling/visiting the Roughriders’ ticket office at Mosaic Stadium (1-888-474-3377).

The sports world is ever-changing, as are the times. Supplement your steady diet of sports coverage by subscribing to the Regina Leader-Post’s 306 Sports Fix newsletter. Each week, sports editor Rob Vanstone will provide additional commentary on the Roughriders, Pats and other teams/sports of interest, along with a peek behind the curtain. Click here to subscribe.

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