Winnipeg to host a Bomber-less Grey Cup
NOLAN KOWAL, CONTRIBUTOR
The 103rd Grey Cup is just under two weeks away, and many people say they’re excited to see the game come to Winnipeg.
“I think that the event will be successful,” said Marni Cramer, a Blue Bombers season ticket holder who drives in from Brandon for every game. “CFL fans want to see the two best teams play. They like to party, and I’ve had so many people tell me they’ve booked their flights and can’t wait to come.”
And ticket sales for the game have picked up. As of Nov. 3, over 32,000 tickets were sold, but that’s still a small crowd for the CFL final. Most Grey Cup games average over 50,000 spectators, but after Investors Group Field scrapped plans to add extra seats to the north end zone, the max capacity for the game will be just 36,634. Still, the event will attract more than 10,000 fans from outside the city.
Obby Khan, a former CFL offensive lineman, has played in two Grey Cup games and said the match is a national celebration.
“The best thing about the Grey Cup is that it’s not just the city that parties, it’s all of Canada,” Khan said. “It’s just one of those things where you have to be there. If the Grey Cup’s here, you have to go.”
The last time Winnipeg hosted the Grey Cup was in 2006. Jason St. Louis, an electrical student at Notre Dame Campus was at that game. He said he enjoyed it so much he bought tickets for this year’s final.
“It was pretty cool to witness Canada’s biggest sporting event live,” St. Louis said. “After experiencing that, I told myself I would always attend a Grey Cup game held in Winnipeg.”
Many local fans hoped to see their home team in the championship game this year, but the Bombers missed the playoffs for the fourth year in a row.
“It is a missed opportunity,” Khan said. “If the Bombers were playing in it, the stands would be 95 per cent Bomber fans, and they would have paid a premium for those tickets.”
But Bob Irving, 680 CJOB’s play-by-play radio announcer for the Bombers, said simply hosting the Grey Cup is still an honour. Irving said he’s covered 43 consecutive Grey Cup finals and Winnipeg has a penchant for hosting big events.
“Whether it’s the Pan Am Games or the Junos, we excel at hosting special events,” he said. “They’ll come close to selling it out, and people will leave saying ‘hey, good job Winnipeg.’”
This year’s Grey Cup game will be on Sunday, Nov. 29 at Investors Group Field. Kickoff is scheduled for 5:00 p.m.