Surrey, BC Mayor Wants To Build A Football Stadium

It is unlikely the NFL would be interested in a Surrey venue.

Does Surrey, British Columbia need a 60,000-seat multi-purpose stadium? The mayor of the city located within the Vancouver market thinks so. Mayor Doug McCallum launched his re-election campaign on August 25th and announced his intention of building a stadium in Surrey. Vancouver has a stadium that is the home of the Canadian Football League’s B. C. Lions less than 20 miles away and that team does practice in Surrey. Surrey, British Columbia is a growing city with more than 568,000 people and Vancouver would seem to be a market that the National Football League might have an interest in as part of its international series of games. But the problem with the NFL is simple, Vancouver is not a market that will grow the game. There is a franchise three hours away by car in Seattle and NFL games are readily available on TV and streaming services in British Columbia. You just don’t spend about a billion dollars on a stadium for nine Canadian Football League games and the possibility that the NFL might select your stadium for a one-off regular season game.

McCallum has a different message from other politicians who see arena and stadium building as an economic generator for an area.  “The economic benefits of sport tourism is huge,” he claimed. He contended that he would be able to find money to build a stadium from government or corporate partners. McCallum also thinks there is a demand for the stadium based on his assessment that nearly half of the B. C. Lions ticket holders come from Surrey. In 2019, the last season before the COVID-19 pandemic, the B.C.  Lions average attendance was 17,803 people per game in a 54,000-seat stadium. Vancouver probably has enough of a population to support a Major League Baseball team but MLB is not interested in playing in a multi-purpose stadium.

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FILE – In this Oct. 12, 2019, file photo, BC Lions’ Ryan Lankford (17) leaps past Edmonton Eskimos defenders during the first half of a Canadian Football League game in Edmonton, Alberta, (Jason Franson/The Canadian Press via AP, File)