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BC Lions approaching sellout for home opener with 50 Cent as Concert Kickoff performer

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The BC Lions will have one of the largest regular season crowds in decades when they host the Calgary Stampeders in their home opener at BC Place on Saturday.

In recent years, the team has booked well-known musical acts as part of its Concert Kickoff series.

With Grammy-winner 50 Cent performing this year, more than 51,000 tickets have been sold.

But for the team, getting into the win column remains the priority after last week's season-opening 35-27 road loss to the Toronto Argonauts.

"It's all about just getting hot at the right time and that's what I try to preach to the guys here," said running back William Stanback. "Don't worry about what the first game was all about. Let's flush it and let's just move on."

He had 11 carries for 35 yards last week and caught five passes for 50 more.

Signed as a free agent by the Lions in the off-season, Stanback won a Grey Cup with the Montreal Alouettes last year.

The coaching staff will be looking to him for leadership and to be a versatile weapon out of the backfield.

"He really is an all-around back as far as catching the ball, running the ball and pass protection. All those things," said head coach and co-general manager Rick Campbell.

"And he's sure been a good teammate since he's been here. He's done everything that's been asked of him and we want to continue to try to utilize him."

While Stanback brings championship experience, for some Lions, including rookie defensive back Ronald Kent Jr., Saturday will be their first home game in the league and their first time experiencing a near-sellout BC Place crowd.

"I just want to give them a show and come out with a W. I'm really excited," Kent Jr. said. "The stadium was just incredible during preseason. So now to see it packed out, it's just a blessing."

Even though the game remains their primary focus, the players can't completely ignore the hype around the 50 Cent concert.

"Everywhere you go around here, everyone's talking about it. Even family back home," Kent Jr. said. "I'm from Pennsylvania and they're talking about 50 Cent coming to perform. It's kind of awesome. I love it."

Stadium doors open at 1:30 p.m. with 50 Cent taking the stage at 3 p.m. and kickoff following at 4 p.m.

The team and BC Place are advising fans to arrive early to avoid being caught in long lines just before the show begins.  

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