DAVID HUTCHINSON 778-839-5442 DAVID.HUTCHINSON@CENTURY21.CA
The B.C. government is kicking in $2.7-million for Vancouver to host the 2014 Grey Cup, an investment the premier believes will reap a significant windfall.
The official hosting announcement, perhaps the worst kept secret in the Canadian Football League, was made Friday morning at BC Place Stadium. This will be the second time in four seasons the big event will be hosted in the City of Glass.
B.C. Premier Christy Clark said hosting the 2011 Grey Cup generated more than $100-million in economic activity, and she expects that number to jump to jump an additional $20 to $30-million this time around.
“On a $2-million investment that’s pretty good. This is a great sporting event,” the BC Lions jersey-clad Clark told reporters at the event.
BC Lions owner David Bradley will contribute the rest of the cash. Bradley, who is also a Canadian senator and the owner of the Toronto Argonauts, will be responsible for all of the expenses – but get all the net profit too.
He believes the CFL big event will bring in $150-million in tourism revenue, mostly to hotels, bars and restaurants.
“It’s no question this is a huge economic driver for the City of Vancouver and the province of B.C.” he said.
Bradley said the provincial contribution to the event will be used to stage free public events.
Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson was notably absent from the press conference, but did issue a statement saying he’s pumped to watch “another Grey Cup win for the BC Lions right here on home turf!”
“Vancouver is now known across Canada and globally as an exceptional host city for major special events. We look forward to welcoming Canadians for an incredible celebration of football at the 102nd Grey Cup,” Robertson said.
Businesses in downtown Vancouver are already salivating over the flood of tourists who will flock to the city for the big event.
Steve Edwards, who manages the Red Card sports bar, remembers when the whole city was abuzz when Vancouver hosted in 2011.
“Especially with our proximity to all the stadiums, we had such a massive influx of guests, it was unbelievable,” he told CTV News.
Fans spent $15-million inside BC Place in 2011, and twice as much was spent outside on game day alone.
Charles Gauthier of the downtown Vancouver Business Improvement Association said it’s a big win for businesses at a normally slow time of year for tourism.
“There are conventions that happen at that time of the year, but it brings a totally different flavour to downtown,” he said.
Many hard-core Grey Cup fans attend the party every year, no matter which city it’s hosted in.