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The wait is over for some fans of the Saskatchewan Roughriders.
The CFL team is set to resume selling season tickets after a lengthy hiatus, and it will go to its waiting list to start the process.
“We haven’t sold any new season tickets for more than three years now,” said Gregg Sauter, the Roughriders’ vice-president of business development and marketing. “We knew the new stadium was coming and we wanted to have as many seats available as possible to transition our current season-ticket holders.
“When we quit selling season tickets, we started a waiting list which is now at about 3,500 people. All those people who were very patient over those years, we’re now giving them an opportunity to purchase season tickets.”
The Roughriders put a halt on season-ticket sales three years ago as part of their preparation for a move to new Mosaic Stadium in 2017.
The issue was that some long-standing season-ticket holders would want to change seats after being moved from historic Mosaic Stadium to the new facility. Having a reserve would allow those changes to be made easily.
“We have 33,000 seats in this stadium,” Sauter explained. “If every single one of them would have been sold as a season ticket, we wouldn’t have had one seat of movement available.”
So, whenever a patron gave up their season tickets for whatever reason over the past three years, the Roughriders didn’t resell those tickets. Meanwhile, fans who wanted to buy season tickets were put on a waiting list that was to be consulted when sales reopened.
That moment has arrived.
“We want to thank our fans for their patience over the past three years,” Sauter said. “Now we have everybody in, we’re settled and we’re opening back up for season tickets, so we’ll start with the wait list.
“If you’re interested at all in season tickets and you aren’t on the wait list, get on the list now because we’re starting to move through it.”
The Roughriders aren’t sure how many tickets they’ll sell during the upcoming blitz, but the team will go as far down the waiting list as possible. The new season tickets will be available in different areas around the stadium.
“We would prefer that (fans) are season-ticket holders as opposed to single-game purchasers, so it’s a fine balance for us of having tickets available game by game and having season tickets available,” Sauter said.
“The really great thing that has happened over these past three years — and this is good for season-ticket holders and non-season-ticket holders — is we’re really never completely sold out anymore. With the secondary market and Ticketmaster’s ticket exchange program, anyone can find a ticket for a game.”
The Roughriders’ decision to reopen season-ticket sales is an indication that the transition from one Mosaic Stadium to the other officially is complete. Aware that the move was going to be a challenge, the Roughriders did a lot of pre-planning.
The organization conducted a survey of fans to find out what was important to them when it came to their seats.
The Roughriders’ management team visited a number of CFL and NFL clubs that had recently gone through a stadium move.
The team used software to allow patrons to replicate the views from their seats.
And other tactics also were used for research purposes.
“All of that really paid off,” Sauter said. “It also sent a message to our fans that we really did care about trying to make this an easy transition.
“We were anxious about the process, just like our fans were. At the end of the day, the real test is when you look back and say, ‘What would you do differently?’ There’s not much we would do differently.”