D'Arcy from Winnipeg
Solution Architecture, Business & Entrepreneurship, Microsoft, and Adoption

Who Did It Better – Comparing Rider and Bomber Pre-Game Festivals

Thursday, July 9, 2015 10:39 AM

I’ve been fortunate enough to be at the home opener for both the Riders and the Bombers this year. On Twitter I commented that the Bomber pre-game festival wasn’t as engaging as the Rider one which I got challenged on. This was before the Bomber home opener, so now that I’ve been to both I wanted to comment on both and “who did it better”.

Rider Pre-Game

The Riders host their pre-game festival on the practice field next to Mosaic stadium. There’s lots of room which provides for a lot of people to spread out and never feel cramped. They also had a stage with live music from local bands, 5 different food options, a beer garden, and inflatable games for kids and adults (I was 3 for 3 on the football toss and scored a Rider flag).

There were tables set up throughout, as well as shaded table areas, but with so much space there was always a patch of grass to call your own as well.

One other thing – You can park at Evraz place next to the stadium FOR FREE on game days.




Bomber Pre-Game

The Bombers pre-game on the south-east corner of the IGF grounds. This is a small area and gets crowded VERY quickly. Music for the home opener was via a DJ working from a laptop. There were only two food options in the festival area – turkey legs from Granny’s and Famous Dave’s BBQ (which was also the game-day sponsor). In contrast, I counted 5 bar tents to get drinks from. Since the space is small, the decision to use standing tables is great. There were also some shaded seating spots as well and tents set up for those that needed shade (standing only, no sitting).


There was a separation between the food/drinks and the “family zone” where you could find a few inflatables and games for kids, autograph signing with Bomber alumni, and some other tents for game-day programs.



So let’s recap how these two stack up for pre-game festival experience.




Area Size

Practice field

Small corner area

Food Options



Drink Options







Live Bands

DJ and Laptop

Player Visibility

None that I saw

Chris Walby


Free parking, easy access

Paid parking, difficult access

Now…I don’t know that having more bar options is necessarily a *good* thing, and really the beer gardens in Regina had the same number of available lines as there was drink tents in Winnipeg. But Winnipeg had a mobile Rum Hut where Regina had only beer.

Also it would have been a great touch to have some Rider alumni available to sign autographs or take pictures. Having Walby available pre-game was a nice touch for the Bombers.

Area size is a huge limitation for the Bombers, but there’s not much that can be done with that. There was a huge tent set up for a “private function”. Maybe move private functions to a different area of the lot which would free up space to set up a stage and have live music, or to space out the games/inflatables for the kids and make the family area easier to walk through.

There needs to be more food options as well. Regina had two BBQ places in addition to traditional hotdog/hamburger fare. If you want to pre-game drink, then the Bomber festival is a great spot for you. If you want to eat though, there are better options inside the stadium. Maybe that’s the intent? Not sure (I will point out that Bombers have much better food options inside the stadium than the Riders).

At the end of the day, I ask myself “Is the pre-game festival something I look forward to and want to attend because it adds to my CFL experience?”. In Regina, that answer is yes. In Winnipeg, its a no.


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