May 21, 2023

Putting fans first: Affordable game-day experiences are Roughriders’ priority

Part of “State of the Nation” included a plan to combat inflation. 

Saskatchewan Roughriders President-CEO Craig Reynolds told fans who attended Saturday’s panel discussion that pricing is an emphasis as the CFL team looks ahead to the 2023 season. 

“We’re really focusing on the fans and the game-day experience,” Reynolds said at the Gordie Howe Sports Complex. “We’re really excited about a lot of things. 

“We’ve looked at it from an affordability perspective, because we know that is a challenge nowadays as well. 

“We re-scaled some of the stadium, which is essentially a price-drop for 9,000 seats. We hope that’s helpful.” 

Additionally, the team has addressed some non-ticket-related costs of attending games at 33,350-seat Mosaic Stadium. 

“We’re close to announcing a $5 menu at concessions,” Reynolds said. 

“Every concessionaire in the stadium will have a $5 menu item, and they’re going to vary. They’re not going to be the same across every concession, so there’s going to be variety and a lot of options from which fans can choose.” 

The overall philosophy is to make it as inviting as possible for parents to take their children to Roughriders games. 

“We’re really focusing on our family pricing,” Reynolds said during a post-panel scrum with reporters. “We want to get as many families out as possible. We’re got $99 pricing (for a family package). 

“The wonderful stadium that we have came with a $12 facility fee that we have to account for as well, so we’re doing our best to try to make things affordable.” 

Reynolds, Jeremy O’Day (General Manager and Vice-President of Football Operations) and Craig Dickenson (Head Coach) addressed the fans and fielded their questions during a 48-minute session on Saturday. Here are some other highlights: 


One attendee inquired about a new rule that allows teams to replace one Canadian starter with a naturalized American for up to 49 per cent of the snaps during a game. 

To qualify as a naturalized American, a player is required to have spent at least three consecutive seasons with the same team or a minimum of four years in the CFL. 

One possibility, according to O’Day, would be for the Roughriders to deploy return ace Mario Alford selectively on offence to spell a Canadian receiver. 

The explosive Alford was named the CFL’s Most Outstanding Special Teams player last season after scoring four return touchdowns. 

As a senior at West Virginia in 2014, Alford caught 61 passes for 865 yards and 11 touchdowns. 


“Our goal,” Dickenson declared, “is to be the least-penalized team in the league. It’s my personal mandate to make that happen. 

“Wish me luck with that.” 

During a subsequent session with reporters, Dickenson elaborated on that ambitious objective. 

“We’re really going to emphasize football IQ and being one play smarter,” he said.  

“We’re going to make a point of pointing out the penalties that happen and of asking the players to take accountability for them, and also of asking them to tell us what to do differently next time to avoid a penalty. 

“It’s going to take some time. There are probably going to be some bruised egos a little bit. But the point is that we want to try to make it a teachable moment as opposed to a discipline moment. 

“The idea is, let’s get smarter. Let’s understand why the penalty happened and let’s make a commitment to make sure that we do it differently the next time.” 


  • Linebacker Wayne Shaw, a Roughrider from 1961 to 1972, was among the attendees at “State of the Nation.” Shaw, a six-time All-Star, played for the Roughriders’ first Grey Cup championship team (1966). The 1966 Roughriders’ linebacking corps also included Shaw’s younger brother, Cliff.
  • The Roughriders plan to wear their classic retro jerseys twice this season. The old-school look is a natural for Throwback Thursday — a July 6 home game against the Calgary Stampeders. And, as usual, the retro duds will be donned for the Labour Day Classic (Sept. 3 against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers).
  •  Asked about the state of the CFL and its other eight member teams, Reynolds responded: “I think the league is in really good shape from an ownership perspective.”
  • “You have my word,” Dickenson said to wrap up the state-of-the-franchise roundtable. “We’ll have a team that you’re going to be proud of this year.”