Ottawa will host the 2017 Grey Cup
Ottawa Redblacks ownership group sets sights on younger demographic
The 2017 Grey Cup will be hosted at TD Place in Ottawa next season, with ownership focusing on drawing a younger crowd to the game.
CFL commissioner Jeffrey Orridge made the announcement that the CFL's championship game will be played at TD Place before Sunday night's Ottawa Redblacks home game against the Toronto Argonauts.
The news came after a pregame video featuring Prime Minister Justin Trudeau handing over the Cup to members of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, who gave it to two men dressed as lumberjacks who canoed it down the Rideau Canal to Redblacks mascot Big Joe.
Ottawa will be the home of the 2017 <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/GreyCup?src=hash">#GreyCup</a>! <br><br>➡ <a href="https://t.co/EEuVIGkOHd">https://t.co/EEuVIGkOHd</a><a href="https://t.co/wwgDCAoRsB">https://t.co/wwgDCAoRsB</a>—@REDBLACKS
CFL Hall of Famer Tony Gabriel carried the Grey Cup onto the field to a loud ovation just before the news became official.
Ottawa last hosted the Grey Cup in 2004.
"I won't lie, I teared up. It was pretty special to see it all come together," said Jeff Hunt, a member of the Redblacks ownership group during a halftime news conference.
'Youngest Grey Cup ever'
Hunt said they're looking to add around 10,000 temporary seats to TD Place for a capacity of around 34,000 people.
He said their goal is to make the 105th Grey Cup "the youngest Grey Cup ever" to draw many of the young fans who routinely help the team sell out their games.
"One thing we know about younger fans is they don't consume the game in the same way that older fans do, they don't necessarily want to sit in a seat the entire time," he said.
"You see some of the things we've done [is create] lots of areas for young people to stand around and socialize. They come in large groups."
Hunt said the group plans to price tickets to make them accessible to younger fans so they can come to the game too.
Jeff Hunt, one of the <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Redblacks?src=hash">#Redblacks</a> owners, talks about making 2017 in Ottawa one for the younger crowd. <a href="https://t.co/LoEbUgTPvN">pic.twitter.com/LoEbUgTPvN</a>—@amkfoote
The game is the latest special event to come to Ottawa as part of the city's plans to be a big attraction during Canada's 150th birthday celebrations in 2017, following the Junos, an underground sound and light show in a train tunnel, and a giant mechanical dragon and spider show on the city's streets.
"It's going to be great for, obviously, the immediate area but my goal… will really be to make sure it's not just the Grey Cup game but Grey Cup week, that we celebrate in all parts of the city," he said.
Watson said the city estimates the Grey Cup and all its related events will generate at least $100 million for the area's economy.
The 2016 Grey Cup is being held at BMO Field in Toronto.