WINNIPEG — It’s now official. The CFL’s 2015 Grey Cup game will be played in Winnipeg.
The league’s worst-kept secret was confirmed Wednesday at Investors Group Field, as CFL Commissioner Mark Cohon solidified the date for the 103rd championship game on November 29, 2015.
It’s the fourth time the city will host the event, having previously played host in 2006, 1998, and 1991.
“I can’t think of a better way to celebrate Canada than to bring our fans together from across the country, not just to mark one of our grandest traditions, but to celebrate what is a very bright future, in one of Canadian football’s proudest homes,” Cohon said.
A caveat of Winnipeg being awarded the game was the planned reconstruction of the press box at Investors Group Field. The CFL required the Winnipeg Football Club to submit plans for enclosing the entire press box off from the elements. Poor sightlines of the field from inside the press box is another story, but not something that would have held back the club from welcoming the league’s marquee event.
Blue Bombers president and CEO, Wade Miller, said crews began work this week to address the league’s concerns. Miller also said additional seats will be installed under the video boards at each end of the field to increase fan capacity from 33,000 to 41,000 seats.
The club anticipates to generate $3-4 million in revenue from the Grey Cup, while Premier Greg Selinger expects the economic spinoff to pull in between $80-$100 million. Selinger also said the province contributed $4 million to bring the championship to the Prairies.
Plans for the Grey Cup Festival are already in motion, with downtown Winnipeg being the focus of most activities, including at the RBC Convention Centre. Construction on the expansion won’t be completed until 2016, but organizers are hopeful the facility will still be able to accommodate large football crowds before the final touches are put on. The University of Manitoba campus will also host its share of fun, with Miller hinting that the football club is going for “record-breaking” tailgating.
The Winnipeg Blue Bombers have made 24 appearances in the Grey Cup — 10 of which they’ve won. With a revamped coaching staff and promising roster heading into the 2014 season, fans will be anxious to see what kind of on-field product the Blue and Gold end up producing this summer.
Vancouver will host the 2014 Grey Cup on November 30 at BC Place.
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