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PBR Canada to usher in return of fan-attended sporting events in Canada

PBR chief executive Sean Gleason (Credit: Bull Stock Media)

Professional Bull Riders Canada next week will usher in the return of fan attendance at professional sporting events in the country in the wake of the global Covid-19 pandemic, though in a slightly different way.

The PBR Built Ford Tough Invitational, which is being held at the ENMAX Centre in Lethbridge, Alberta, at 7pm MT on July 23, will allow fans to watch from directly outside the closed arena from their cars on a 23-foot videoscreen.

More than 200 parking spaces will be made available to the public for purchase in the West Parking lot of the ENMAX Centre to watch all the action from their own vehicles.

Health and safety protocols include: socially-distanced parking spaces ensuring all groups of fans are kept at minimum six-feet apart; restricted movement for fans, who may only exit their vehicles to use the bathroom facilities; portable bathroom facilities and handwashing stations to be sanitized between uses; and mobile ticketing to replace traditional printed tickets.

The officially-titled “PBR Canada Monster Energy Tour Live: Drive-In Spectacular” is part of a doubleheader with the PBR Cooper Tires Invitational, which is being held at 1pm MT at the same venue but will be completely closed to the public.

In the United States, the Endeavor-owned PBR became one of the sports industry’s first-movers in the return from the health crisis when it staged a closed-door event in Guthrie, Oklahoma, in late April.

Last weekend, PBR also set a meaningful industry precedent by ushering in the return of fans at indoor arenas in the US amid the health crisis.

“PBR was the first major professional sport to return to action in the US, and now we are excited to continue the cowboy spirit here in Canada by pioneering the return of sports with fans in attendance,” said PBR Canada general manager Jason Davidson. “We want to thank our fans for their patience and cooperation as well as our incredible partners in the ENMAX Centre and City of Lethbridge for their tireless work in helping us hold this event safely and responsibly.”

In April, PBR Canada extended its domestic broadcast agreement with TSN for 2020.