Regina will host 2013 Grey Cup
Regina will host the 2013 Grey Cup, the Saskatchewan Roughriders announced late Thursday afternoon just ahead of a scheduled media event in Regina where CFL commissioner Mark Cohon confirmed the news.
The league championship game for that season is set for Sunday, Nov. 24 at Mosaic Stadium.
It will be the 101st Grey Cup game.
No details were immediately available about ticket prices.
Cohon made the official announcement shortly after 6 p.m. CST in Regina where he noted Saskatchewan football fans have a "legendary" passion for the game.
"It's an exciting day for the city, for the province, for your team," Cohon added, admitting it was "the worst-kept secret in the CFL."
"Only in Saskatchewan can a team mired in a four and ten season expect hundreds of people to show up for an announcement that we all know about already," Jim Hopson, the president and CEO of the Roughriders, said at the formal announcement.
An enthusiastic crowd nevertheless cheered Cohon's announcement, as a pep band struck up the familiar Roughrider fight song and the Grey Cup trophy joined him on stage.
Cohon likened the championship game to a pilgrimage where football fans "connect with old friends and ... make new friends."
"The cup also is about millions of people gathering in their living rooms, in restaurants, in bars watching the game on TSN and really sharing one of the most cultural traditions in our country," he said.
The 2013 event will be the third time Regina has hosted the game, which has evolved into a week-long festival.
The championship game was also played in the city in 1995 and 2003. On both of those occasions additional, temporary, stands were used to boost the seating capacity of Mosaic Stadium.
The regular configuration of the venue holds about 30,000.
A lesson on football parties
A promotional video dubbed the 2013 Grey Cup game as "Football 101", a reference to the 101st anniversary of the event, and said fans wanting to know how to host a sports party will "learn from the best".
Cohon told CBC News that teams across the league were keen to have the event in Regina.
"It was time to come back," he said. "We thought after the 100th Grey Cup, it would be perfect here."
He said board members of the CFL wanted the 100th Grey Cup to be held in Toronto, where the first game was played in 1909.
Cohon said Toronto was also a strategic choice for the CFL which is looking to improve its presence in that market.
"We're strong but we really need to help build our base in Toronto," he said, "and the 100th Grey Cup is going to help us do that."