Gateway Gazette

A Decade in the Making

By GEORGE JOHNSON, YOUR STAMPS AUTHORITY

After a 10-year absence, the Grey Cup will be back where it belongs.

“We all know this city,’’ said Stampeders quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell, the transplanted Texan who’s made this his home, with a wink and knowing nod. “When it commits to something, it does it up right.

“Definitely, this is going to be the place to be next November.”

For he and his teammates, as well as CFL partisans across this vast land, tip to tip.

The formal announcement for the 107th Grey Cup Game presented by Shaw for McMahon Stadium on Nov. 24, 2019 came Monday, setting up an Alberta twin-bill, with Edmonton’s Commonwealth Stadium set to host the 2018 classic.

“On behalf of our ownership group and the entire Calgary Stampeder organization, I want to thank the Canadian Football League, the board of governors, commissioner Randy Ambrosie for entrusting us with the responsibility, and the privilege, of hosting the 2019 Grey Cup presented by Shaw,’’ said Stamps’ GM John Hufnagel.

“This would not have been possible without the support of our partners at the City of Calgary, the province of Alberta and Tourism Calgary.

“The Grey Cup Game and Festival is an opportunity to showcase the Stampeders, our loyal fans and our great city.

“There’s a lot of work with putting on a wonderful, grand event, which we’re expecting.

“But I’m excited about rolling up my sleeves and helping out as much as I can.”

The province has made a $1.5 million commitment to the project. Early estimates have the economic impact to the city perhaps reaching as high as $100 million.

“One of the first things I learned when I attended my first Grey Cup,’’ said Cindy Ady, CEO of Tourism Calgary, “is the energy that comes to a city. It’s fantastic.

“I can tell you in 2009, the last time we had the Grey Cup, we had 32,000 out-of-town guests. As well, it was a $35-million economic activity for this city.

“So you can’t tell me major sporting events aren’t important.”

Given the provincial rivalries in, well, just about everything between Alberta’s two keynote cities, a sense of friendly competition exists to put on the best show.

“It’s game on,’’ agreed Ady. “We’ll take that challenge. This city has hosting in its DNA. We know how. And we’re so looking forward to the opportunity.”

[Tweet ““It’s game on,’’ agreed Ady. “We’ll take that challenge. This city has hosting in its DNA. We know how. And we’re so looking forward to the opportunity.””]

McMahon Stadium’s current football seating capacity is currently 35,400, bumped up to 46,020 when temporary pews are added.

“Right now we’re looking at temporary suites in the endzone,’’ said Hufnagel of increasing attendance numbers for the big game.

For the 1993 title tilt, 50,035 were on hand to watch the Edmonton Eskimos topple Winnipeg 33-23, the largest gathering for a Calgary-hosted Cup.

The plans looking ahead to Nov. 24, 2019 begin now. Today. This moment.

“Grey Cup day,’’ said league commissioner Randy Ambrosie, “is a special part of Canada. I remember selling these Grey Cup pool tickets as a kid to raise money for our sporting teams and how important that was. Grey Cup parties, being with family and friends. Celebrating those wins, East vs. West, which has always been such a special part of this great game.

“This is a game that’s all about ‘we.’ It has a magical power. Go to a Grey Cup and you’ll see Stamp fans and Rider fans and Tiger-Cat fans and Eskimo fans all hanging out together, having fun, enjoying each other’s company.

“In fact, I’d argue that Grey Cups are more important today than ever. It’s so important now that we put on a great show, profile not only a game but a country coming together, making everyone – all Canadians – feel warm and welcome.

“And Calgary is famous for doing all of those things.”

Source: Calgary Stampeders

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