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Volume 26 No. 51
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CFL Blue Bombers Expect Big Crowd For Packers-Raiders Game

The Packers and Raiders will officially play a preseason game in August at Winnipeg's Investor's Group Field, and CFL Blue Bombers President & CEO Wade Miller predicts the game will "outdraw his own team, despite the price tag, set by the Raiders," according to Paul Friesen of the WINNIPEG SUN. Available tickets in the "lower bowl average some $300 a pop," after the few $75 seats were "quickly snapped up." While the Raiders are the home team for the game, there is a "good chance" there will be "more cheeseheads in the stands," given the Packers' local following and the proximity of Wisconsin to Manitoba. The Raiders have been "in search of a western Canadian host for the last six months," eventually choosing Winnipeg over "runner-up Regina because the Bombers wanted it more" (WINNIPEG SUN, 6/6). Raiders Exec VP & General Counsel Dan Ventrelle said, "We wanted to play in a place that was modern and had the types of amenities NFL fans would expect and are used to. This place certainly has that" (WINNIPEG FREE PRESS, 6/6). In Winnipeg, Ken Wiebe writes although "some of the logistics are still to be ironed out, the expectation is that the Raiders will hold a practice at IG Field on Tuesday of that week and the Packers hit the field on Wednesday as part of a festival that celebrates football in general" (WINNIPEG SUN, 6/6).

THROWING UP A PRAYER: In Winnipeg, Mike McIntyre writes the Blue Bombers are "putting quite a bit more on the line by inviting the NFL to play in their backyard." While there "could be some kind of temporary payoff," the question nobody at yesterday's press conference "wanted to spend much time considering is this: what if this ends up being a hopeless Hail Mary?" It is "not out of the realm of possibility, considering the sticker shock" of ticket prices. The Blue Bombers said that this game poses "no financial risk to them, as they haven't paid any kind of up-front fee to host the first NFL game in the city's history." McIntyre: "But I can't help but wonder what this could ultimately mean to their own bottom line" (WINNIPEG FREE PRESS, 6/6).