author: jacob nelson | staff writer
Last time the big game was in Saskatchewan was in 2013 / Rebecca Bowlit
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On Thursday, Feb. 21, it was announced that Regina would play host to the 2020 Grey Cup. The Leader–Post noted that the Grey Cup festival will be held at Evraz Place, the first time both events will be conducted on one site.
Tim Reid, President and CEO of Regina Exhibition Association Ltd., which runs Evraz Place, is excited about the opportunity, as he told the Leader Post
“‘Now the fun part comes,‘ Reid said. ‘We get to dream, and how do we make this a made-in Regina Grey Cup? Most importantly, it’s getting ready to host the nation for one of the most historic trophies in all of Canada.‘”
Premier Scott Moe also had some positive words for the Riders while also reflecting on the 2013 Grey Cup which saw Saskatchewan beat the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, again to the LP.
“‘The last time we hosted a Grey Cup it went pretty well, because 2013 was certainly a celebration for all of us to remember,‘ Moe said in a prepared statement. ‘Whether you were in the stands at old Mosaic Stadium, whether you were watching from your home, or celebrating in Riderville, or walking the Green Mile, our province hosted a great celebration that day. Now we have a new stadium and we’re ready to host another Grey Cup.‘”
Of course, Saskatchewan, and not just Regina, will benefit from the event. Economic Development Regina estimates that $95 million will be brought to the province’s economy next year, $73 million of which will come to Regina.
However, we know that the Riders fan base is quite strong throughout the community, but how will this affect the students, and are they looking forward to the event? So, I asked Mike Outerbridge, a fourth-year engineering student, and long-time Rider fan, what his thoughts were on the 2020 Grey Cup.
“I wasn’t old enough to really participate in the Grey Cup festivities in 2013, but I’ve heard they’ll be hosting a lot of the events in the nearby Brandt Centre.”
“I’m pretty sure that most other cities have all of the activities for separate teams in separate buildings, so it will be good to have them under the same roof. It will be easier to navigate the different pavilions without having to go outside.”
The Grey Cup brings in a lot of people from across the country, and making it easier for everyone to attend and see everything will help make Regina a much more convenient destination for traveling fans.
Mike also specifically renewed his season tickets this year so he could get Grey Cup tickets.
“I know from the 2013 Grey Cup that season–ticket holders had first choice on purchasing their seats before the tickets went on sale to the general public. I’m pretty sure it will be the same for 2020. As far as I know, you don’t get to choose any seats other than the ones you have your season tickets for.”
Regina is a football city. Our largest professional team is the Saskatchewan Roughriders. We have extremely die-hard fans and that will never change, but football fans far and wide have had their horizons opened over the last few months. With the inauguration of the Alliance of American Football, and the announcement of the XFL getting another shot, the CFL will start to see more than just the NCAA and NFL as competition.
With another year before the Grey Cup comes to Regina, will these leagues potentially cause a decrease in CFL ratings? But not everyone is so sure the AAF or XFL will have a negative impact on the Grey Cup moving forward. I asked Mike his thoughts on these potential threats.
“I think the AAF posed the biggest threat, but they’ve had massive drops in ratings and alleged payroll issues,” said Outerbridge. “Judging by the last time the XFL started, I don’t think the CFL has to worry.”
Referring to the XFL’s previous collapse after one year due to financial issues primarily derived from a lawsuit with the NFL.
“I don’t think they’ll have anything out of the ordinary for the Grey Cup to try and fight these issues,” he said.
Of course, the organization will be working tirelessly over the next coming months to make this Grey Cup the best CFL championship yet. But it would be hard to imagine they make any large cultural or structural changes to the cup in order to combat to leagues that haven’t even had a full season under their belt.
And, of course, its not just the staff that will be putting in long hours of hard work. The Riders themselves will want to put on a show under New Mosaic lights in the Grey Cup.
“It’s hard to say two seasons out if they’ll be in a spot to compete [for the Cup], but I’m sure they’ll make a solid run,” Outerbridge said. “I’m sure the team feels and urgency after, especially since 2013 and how the fans are in Saskatchewan. For some fans, anything other than a Grey Cup win is a bad season.”
Now with the plans in motion and the stage getting set, will the student body have much of a reaction to the Grey Cup?
“With the amount of students here from all different backgrounds, I’m sure there a few like me who would buy season tickets just to get access to Grey Cup tickets. On the other hand, I’m sure there are just as many who don’t care at all when it comes to sports in general, let alone the Grey Cup,” Outerbridge said.
Culture is going to be something on the minds of everyone working in new Mosaic. As a city that sees tons of foreigners from all different backgrounds, they will have plenty opportunity to target those people, and more importantly the party focused students, with the festive events leading up to and following the Grey Cup.
With the 2020 Grey Cup two seasons away, we still have a while to wait. However, I’m sure over the next year we will be getting a lot more information and a much clearer picture of all the good things to expect with the arrival of the CFL championship.