The CFL is coming to Victoria next season.
The B.C. Lions will play the Ottawa Redblacks at Royal Athletic Park on Aug. 31.
CFL Commissioner Randy Ambrosie and Lions president Duane Vienneau made the announcement on Wednesday (Nov. 29) at the Victoria Conference Centre.
“We really want to bring the sport of football and the CFL experience to the community,” Vienneau said.
The East Coast has hosted five CFL “Touchdown Atlantic” games since 2005.
“It’s just a thrill for us to bring touchdown to another market,” Ambrosie said. “The 2024 touchdown game will now be rebranded ‘Touchdown Pacific’. Its about sharing our game with all Canadians. The B.C. Lions don’t belong to Vancouver and the Lower Mainland. They belong to the entire province.”
The 2023 “Touchdown Atlantic” game on the campus of Saint Mary’s University in Halifax generated more than $10 million overall for businesses and communities across the region. The game featured the Saskatchewan Roughriders and Toronto Argonauts on July 29.
“The economic impact is immense,” Vienneau added. “It will be a key driver in the community.”
Royal Athletic Park will be expanded to hold approximately 10,000 to 14,000 fans, including standing room.
“This is an amazing opportunity for Vancouver Island to really become very familiar with the game,” Victoria Mayor and Lions season ticket holder Marianne Alto said. “The Lions are always a fantastic team. They do belong to all of British Columbia. We’re going to claim them on Aug. 31. This is gonna be a momentous occasion and an opportunity to build not just the sport, but an amazing series of benefits for the city and the community.”
Ambrosie didn’t rule out Victoria possibly getting a CFL team one day.
“You don’t know what happens once you come here,” Ambrosie said. “Who knows? Once you light that fuse, you don’t know exactly where it takes you. For now, this is not about a permanent team in Victoria.”
CFL commissioner Randy Ambrosie announces that the league is bringing a game to Victoria next season. The @BCLions will play the Ottawa @REDBLACKS at Royal Athletic Park on Aug. 31. pic.twitter.com/bPmcV3qVjI— Brendan Mayer (@BrendanMayer) November 29, 2023
The Winnipeg Blue Bombers came out on top 24-13 over the Lions in the CFL West Division final on Nov. 11.
The Montreal Alouettes defeated Winnipeg 28-24 in the Grey Cup on Nov. 19.
Vancouver will host the 2024 Grey Cup at BC Place on November 17, 2024.