Sports fans across Ontario may soon be able to have a drink outside their favourite sports venues.
With the Maple Leafs gearing up for the playoffs and the Raptors soon to follow suit, the Ontario government is considering an amendment that would allow tailgate parties to be held outside sports venues before games. This would be accomplished by allowing venues and parking lot owners to apply for a special event permit.
According to a report by The Globe and Mail, the provincial budget announcement set for this week will include a provision allowing tailgate parties with alcoholic beverages outside major sports venues, such as Scotiabank Arena and Rogers Centre in Toronto, Budweiser Gardens in London, the WFCU Centre in Windsor and others. This report was confirmed via Twitter by David Tarrant, director of strategic communications for Premier Doug Ford.
"Sports fans should be fired up," Tarrant tweeted. "The Ford government is going to treat adults like adults by legalizing tailgating across Ontario."
Tailgating is a common practice in the U.S. before major sporting events, particularly before college and NFL football games. Fans arrive early with their own food and beverages, set up a party space near their vehicles and enjoy themselves. Sports fans in Windsor-Essex often participate in tailgate parties before Detroit Lions football games, Detroit Tigers baseball, or University of Michigan football.
The special event permit would not only allow people to publicly consume alcohol on arena or stadium property but also purchase alcohol in that manner. However, laws regarding impaired driving and disorderly conduct involving alcohol will still be aggressively enforced.
The Ontario government is due to release its budget on Thursday.