Tourism Analysis by Rod Charles
Vacay.ca Deputy Editor
The momentum the CFL has built for its championship game continued on Friday when Vancouver was named as host of the 2014 Grey Cup.
“Next year is shaping up as a real milestone for our league, with the return of Ottawa to the CFL, and the opening of a new stadium in Hamilton, on the heels of the momentum we plan to generate this year,” said CFL commissioner Mark Cohon at a press conference at BC Place Stadium on Friday.
It’s been an incredible ride for the Grey Cup, which celebrated its 100th anniversary in Toronto with 10 days of festivities featuring a halftime show with Justin Bieber, face painting, music, Toronto Sun Zip Line, and the Scotiabank Fan Zone last November. And of course there was a football game, with the home team Argonauts coming up with a 35-22 win over the favoured Calgary Stampeders.
For those of us who cherish the Canadian game, these announcements are important for three reasons. First, we get lots of time to plan our trip and think ahead to all of the fun times and memories that will be created upon our arrival. Second, we find out which region will have the honour of throwing a party that will draw thousands of people from coast to coast and create tons of business for the host city’s economy.
Canada.com reports that the Grey Cup game “generates a profit of $3 million-$5 million for the host team/owner.” Last year CFL Commissioner Mark Cohon told the Toronto Star, “Whether it’s small hotels or restaurants or bars, you have an influx of people coming in from around the country and around the GTA. I think the benefits of these (events) really accrue to a lot of the people in the tourism industry.”
Third, this announcement is important because the city that gets to host the Grey Cup also gets to showcase the best of what its region has to offer. For a tourism board, working for a city that is hosting the championship game is a bonanza that sells itself and this year the 101st Grey Cup — or the “ultimate party on the prairie” as it’s been dubbed — will be held in Regina, Saskatchewan at Mosaic Stadium at Taylor Field on November 24.
The home of the Saskatchewan Roughriders has arguably the loudest, most passionate fans in the league and there’s no doubt they will do their best to make the 2013 Grey Cup even better than the one in Toronto. And just to be clear, when we say “thousands of people from coast to coast” we don’t just mean Canadians.
In 1995, the Grey Cup was won by the Baltimore Stallions of the United States, much to the horror of Canadians. The United States experiment ended when the NFL’s Cleveland Browns moved in and became the current Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens and the Stallions became the Montreal Alouettes. But while the CFL was finished south of the border, many of our American friends — especially from Maryland — had fallen in love with the game and year after year, many still make the journey north to see the Grey Cup.
In an interview with TSN.ca, 53-year-old preschool teacher Sue Haddox of Baltimore explained that she “truly fell in love with the league and that coming to Canada each year is like coming home to her football family. ‘We feel like we’re still a part of it. We enjoy the fans, the games, the excitement of it. Canada is a great country. The people are wonderful and we’ve always felt welcome. All our friends keep telling me we’re literally adopted.'”
Vancouver is no stranger to the Grey Cup. This will be the 16th time the big game has been played here, the last time being in 2005. For those planning a trip to Vancouver for 2014, this should be one heck of a party. That is, of course, if you’re able to fully recover from the 2013 party in Saskatchewan.
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