Fill the house

Bison Sports announces free admission to home openers, first Bison game at Investors Group Field

Once you add up tuition, books, and parking, it is nice to hear something is free.

Bison Sports recently announced  that all University of Manitoba students shall receive free admission to the 2013-14 regular season home opener games for all Bison sports teams.

In a press release, Bison Sports athletic director Coleen Dufresne stated that “This is a great opportunity for all U of Manitoba students, new or returning, to experience and cheer on the Manitoba Bison varsity teams right from the start of the 2013-2014 season.”

The first chance for students to take advantage of this will be Friday, Aug. 30 at 7 p.m., when Bison Football hosts the Alberta Golden Bears at the new Investors Group Field.

The cost of admission for all other Bison Football regular season games will be $8 for students and seniors, $15 for adults, while kids aged six and under get in free.

Of particular interest is the Bisons’ second home game on Saturday, September 7 vs. Saskatchewan. It appears UMSU, in conjunction with Bison Sports, is looking to take advantage of the rivalry between Winnipeg and Saskatchewan, as well as the Banjo Bowl occurring on the same weekend.

“We have already contacted USSU [University of Saskatchewan Students’ Union] about trying to get their fans to come that weekend,” UMSU VP external Christian Pierce told the Manitoban. “We will be sending posters over to USSU and have them distribute them around their campus. The hope is to encourage USSU students who were planning on attending the Banjo Bowl on the Sunday to attend the Bisons vs Huskies game on the Saturday.”

Looking at the numbers, the Huskies maintained an average of 5,500 fans per game last season, by far the best-supported team in the Canada West conference. Their fan base is definitely something Bison Sports wants to take advantage of.

In fact, sources have told the Manitoban that this was a coordinated effort by the Bisons and Canada West to schedule a Saskatchewan team during the Banjo Bowl weekend, and they expect it to become a part of the Banjo Bowl weekend tradition for years to come.

With only one playoff appearance after their 2007 Vanier Cup, the Bisons are hoping the new stadium heralds the beginning of a new era, breathing life into the team and the fan base. While games at University Stadium offered little except football to die-hard CIS fans, the novelty of the new stadium and being able to see a game at a state-of-the-art facility for only $15 may attract a wider demographic.

The U of Ms large student body and spacious campus could certainly accommodate any new traditions that may help build hype around the school’s athletic department. This appears to be a great opportunity to change the sports culture here at the University of Manitoba.

“I encourage all students to come out and support their teams and to start the season with the Bison Football game on Friday, August 30 during the first ever CIS game at the new stadium,” said Dufresne.

The Bison Football training camp opens Aug. 16.


Eric MacLise is the host of Covering the Spread, which airs Tuesdays at 10 a.m. on 101.5 UMFM.