The Grey Cup is returning to Ontario, with the only issue being the site for the 2016 title contest.
Multiple CFL sources have told Sportsnet that the CFL title game will be held in Toronto in 2016, the third time in a decade the league’s largest market will host it. And following a rubber stamp at the board level, Ottawa is expected to host the 2017 league final.
That would mark the return of the Grey Cup to the nation’s capital for the first time since Lansdowne Park hosted the week-long party in 2004 — and coincides with the city’s 150th anniversary celebrations.
The bigger issue in Toronto is the site for the late November game. It has not yet been determined if it will be played under the roof of Rogers Centre or outdoors at a renovated BMO Field.
The CFL’s board of governors is scheduled to meet this fall to determine that venue and to “officially” award Ottawa the 2017 game.
To many in league circles it will come as no surprise that these cities will be awarded the Grey Cup, which can generate upwards of $4 million in profit for the host club depending on the gate and amount of government money received to host the festival surrounding each championship week. When Ottawa returned to the CFL in 2014, the league assured ownership it would receive a Grey Cup as part of the expansion bid. The same occurred in Toronto when new owners acquired the franchise from David Braley in the spring.
While Grey Cup revenues had been a slam-dunk for much of the last decade, the event has lost some of its lustre recently. The game did not sell out in Vancouver last year and television viewership dipped for the Calgary-Hamilton game. In Winnipeg, organizers announced that about a third of the tickets still remain for this November’s championship — which will have a total attendance figure of under 40,000.
There is no timetable on an announcement from the league on the awarding of the Toronto and Ottawa Grey Cup games, but it likely won’t be until after the governors gather in the fall.