The anticipation thrummed through me and my knees bounced. I looked around the LRT, noticing the crowds. The man sitting opposite us was laughing as he listened to our conversation. Everyone seemed relaxed and chill.
I got down to the station and followed the crowd. I started to feel the excitement that is always there before any sport game. There was a man on his bike wearing all things Eskimo. Vendors lined the street leading into the stadium. The air was thick with the smell of cigarette smoke and marijuana.
When we found our seats, I got another thrill. There is something so incredibly magnificent about a stadium just before any sport game. The seats loomed high above me, higher than I have ever seen them. There was an energy that pulsed throughout the crowd — the constant buzz, the loud music. People started looking for their seats slowly, carrying trays of food and of course the game day must-have, beer.
In July 2019, Edmonton Eskimos, Inc. introduced the Empire North Pass, with $22 ticket prices after low attendance numbers at home games. The tickets are for a general admission pass that increases to $25 when purchased on game day. The general admission seats are on the north side of the stadium, underneath the scoreboard, which sounds a lot worse than it really is. You can see the entire stadium spread out in front of you.
Children under 12 also receive a free pass with their ticket purchase which also allows them an autograph and photograph session on the field after the game. The pass is being tested out for this season. There is no information about whether this will be the norm for all future games.
The tickets also serve as a fare for the bus or LRT, starting two hours before the game and lasting until two hours after the game ends.
Basically, the games are affordable and perfect for a date night.
The concession food was a little expensive for what they give you, but the experience is worth it. A hot dog and a cold drink will cost you approximately $10. I bought french fries for $5 and, sadly, didn’t get enough to be considered filling, but they were good to snack on. I only got 10 fries and was very disappointed, not to mention hungry. I did, however, cave in and buy a tub of freshly made mini doughnuts: $16 for 36 doughnuts is money well spent, in my opinion.
The game kicked off with fireworks and music, which was a slight culture shock but I could feel the stadium come alive around me. Being from the UK, we have a different style of sport games: cricket and tennis are usually very refined, and soccer games are done in 90 minutes. I didn’t grow up watching games where music and cheerleaders were part of the entertainment, and we never had fireworks to start off the game.
Foghorns were being blown, and the girl behind me was clanging her bells very loudly. A group of guys dressed in different kinds of animal onesies rushed down the stairs to where they were sitting, careful not to spill their beers. The cheerleaders began their routines but were upstaged by the marching band in sunglasses. For some reason I could smell barbeque.
The vibe was cool, though different to what I’m used to.
The players got together for the coin flip and then the game began. A couple of seconds later, it stopped and I was so confused. My date told me it was a first down, but because neither of us knew what that meant, we just shrugged and ate doughnuts.
The game proved to be a consumer sport, with prizes to be won at every pause. I did not win anything, but I also didn’t enter the raffles. That said, there were a lot of winners to keep the audience involved in the game.
Overall, the cost of the date was approximately $75: two tickets for $48, free transport, and food for two people was about $25.
If you want to go on a well-priced date to a sports game, Eskimo games are the way to go. Enjoy the game, have a beer, and show your love to the team