The Canadian Football League (CFL) is looking to make touchdowns in Langford as discussions about adding a “Touchdown Pacific” series start.
The league has hosted a “Touchdown Atlantic” series on the east coast since 2005, with the goal of bringing a regular season game to communities that don’t have a home team.
The event has grown in popularity over the series’ eight-year run, according to CFL commissioner Randy Ambrosie.
He told CHEK News that the 2022 event in Wolfville, N.S., had a $12.7-million economic impact on the community, bringing football fans from across Canada.
“This kind of spurred the question, is there an opportunity to do on the west coast what we have now done so successfully on the east coast,” Ambrosie explained.
BC Lions owner Amar Doman was born and raised in Victoria. Ambrosie said Doman was the one to suggest Langford’s Starlight Stadium as a possible west coast host.
“You think about Vancouver Island, what a better place to go for a football game and festival,” Ambrosie exclaimed. “Follow it up by going up and down that beautiful island of yours and giving Canadians a chance to see firsthand just how fantastic it is.”
The BC Lions said it supports this idea, adding fans travel in busloads from Victoria to Vancouver for games.
“We’re really always trying to reach out to the entire province,” said Duane Vienneau, president of BC Lions. “We have fans in Victoria and we think it would be something very special to do and bring to our fan base.”
Starlight Stadium would need to be expanded to host the game. The stadium currently has 6,000 seats, but the CFL requires a minimum capacity of 10,000 seats.
“In order to make it viable we need at least 10,000,” Ambrosie said. “The other requirement is we would definitely want to have a festival.”
Last year Langford approved an $8.5 million project for a permanent grandstand to the stadium.
“We’ve moved the pole so that’s allowing us to do the planned upgrades to the stadium,” said Scott Goodmanson, Langford’s mayor. “There hasn’t been any set number of seats designed yet so I can’t give you what a number will be.”
Renovations plans will be brought to council in the near future. He added that hosting bigger events, like a CFL game, is a great economic driver for the city and Greater Victoria region.
“I’ll be jumping the highest in City Hall if this came through,” Goodmanson added.
No date has been set for the potential “Touchdown Pacific” game. The CFL said discussions are still in very early stages, adding it still needs to reach out to local leaders to make plans.
“I would say 2024 is the year that is most in our mind right now,” Ambrosie said. “Again, nothing is set in stone.”