B.C. Lions proprietor Amar Doman is One thing Like a Phenomenon

The B.C. Lions’ 2023 celebration kicks off with one other pre-game live performance, this time with LL Cool J rocking the home.

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Homeowners of sports activities groups will be domineering, meddlesome and intrusive, or legendary ghosts; ethereal spectres who’re by no means truly seen in actual life, solely talked about anecdotally. Vancouver followers don’t need to forged their eyes very far to seek out examples of this.

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When Amar Doman got here on the scene along with his 2021 buy of the B.C. Lions, he was one other sort: a smooth-talking, promise crammed businessman, a charismatic determine that left the workforce’s followers — nonetheless scarred by the Nelson Skalbania period — cautious of his vows.

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However then he popped up at youth soccer video games across the Decrease Mainland, handing out swag, merchandise and tickets. He’s since sponsored the North Shore flag soccer league and has ridden to the rescue of Simon Fraser College soccer, pledging his monetary assist to the beleaguered squad.


NEXT GAMES

Season-opener

Lions vs. Calgary Stampeders

6 p.m. PT, Thursday, June 8, McMahon Stadium

TV: TSN. Radio: AM730

Dwelling-opener

Edmonton Elks vs. B.C. Lions

4 p.m., Saturday, June 17, B.C. Place

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TV: TSN. Radio: AM730


He’s even teaching his sons’ flag soccer workforce.

“I’m teaching now. I’m all in,” he mentioned Friday morning.

“And oh my God. I believed my workplace job was robust. However teaching is a special animal. 13-year-olds, simply making an attempt to get their consideration to run a play … I imply, jeez. What did I join?” he added, laughing.

“However it’s so rewarding. A lot enjoyable. We’ve acquired all CFL groups now represented in flag soccer, each single one among them, now these jerseys haven’t been seen on the North Shore in over 20 years. We’ve acquired the Lions’ brand on jerseys. We’re all over. So we’re coming at this in any respect angles and we’re not going to go away.”

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Face-to-face involvement within the grassroots didn’t simply plant the seed, it blossomed. The Lions’ attendance jumped to a mean of 20,387 final 12 months, and the 34,082 who packed B.C. Place’s higher and decrease bowls for his or her home-opener was the most important crowd within the league in 2022.

A One Republic live performance kicked off the Lions’ season final 12 months, and when the curtain raises on 2023 on Saturday, June 17, LL Cool J would be the showcase act.

“We needed to go together with a very cool hip-hop vibe … and we’re so lucky that we acquired it wrapped up and he agreed to do it,” mentioned Doman. “This man’s a dwelling legend and to have him come up right here and kick a few of these nice songs he’s acquired, the power he’s gonna convey, it’s precisely what we’re on the lookout for.

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“The response on social (media) has been super-strong. Ticket gross sales have gone berserk this morning.”

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Doman mentioned he’s doubled his season ticket gross sales from final 12 months and expects to open up the higher bowl for a 3rd time previously 12 months for the Lions’ home-opener towards the Edmonton Elks.

He pushed onerous to get some earlier kickoff occasions this 12 months, and was rewarded with getting 4 p.m. begins for his or her first six residence video games, with the ultimate three in late September and October reverting to the 7/7:30 p.m. begin occasions. The sooner kickoffs imply its simpler for households to attend, out-of-town followers and even locals who don’t wish to dedicate their whole summer time night to simply soccer.

The membership has maintained a robust provincewide presence, as a substitute of a myopic Decrease Mainland following, maintaining that flame alive with initiatives like working shuttles from the Inside and Vancouver Island to the video games, the price together with the sport ticket.

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“The best factor is simply seeing the followers re-engaged, cheering for one thing once more, and (re-energizing) one thing that simply wanted some horsepower and love,” mentioned Doman. “We’ve invested within the workforce, investing in these occasions across the video games, however actually seeing the followers glad and speaking in a really constructive method concerning the B.C. Lions once more, that simply makes me fall asleep at evening glad, saying, ‘Hey, we’re doing our job for the group.’ ”

The Lions are doing the job on the sphere as effectively. Nathan Rourke’s electrical 2022 season was nationwide information, and B.C. hosted a playoff sport for the primary time in seven years, beating the Calgary Stampeders earlier than falling to the Winnipeg Blue Bombers within the West closing.

A crowd of 30,114 got here out for the playoff sport towards Calgary; the concert-boosted residence opening crowd was the primary time since 2014 that the Lions had opened the higher bowl.

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“That playoff sport we had towards Calgary within the Western semifinals, B.C. Place was rocking,” mentioned Doman. “It was chilly in there, however man, it was rocking once more. Simply to have that feeling of the followers getting re-engaged … that’s what makes me glad.

“We wish to have that vibe going right here once more. It doesn’t occur in a single day, however year-by-year-by-year is gonna get stronger-and-stronger-and-stronger. … What we’ve completed in a few years … is fairly wonderful. Profitable video games helped, the Nathan Rourke factor helped. It simply introduced consideration again to the B.C. Lions.

“My large factor goes after the youngsters, the youth, getting them concerned to develop into Lions followers for all times. (We’re) breeding a era of younger guys that wish to come to those video games they usually’re enthusiastic about it once more. And already in a few years the B.C. Lions are very related once more within the sports activities scene in Canada.

“One fan at a time, to make use of the outdated line. One technique at a time … It’s simply type of a pleasant rebirth right here.”


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