Since the Redblacks returned to the Nation’s Capital in 2014, many have speculated that perhaps Canada’s biggest party would return to Ottawa in 2017. Earlier this week, OSEG moved to turn speculation into reality, officially sending an application to the league for the right to host the 105th Grey Cup.
Watson will bring motion to council for CFL Grey Cup bid in 2017. Requirement of the application. #ottnews
— Matthew Pearson (@mpearson78) January 27, 2016
With six of the last seven Grey Cups taking place out West, geography is no excuse and to be completely frank, the CFL should simply rubber stamp the bid and let the planning begin. Hosting the Grey Cup would arguably be the biggest event in a long list of festivals and events that will take place in Ottawa in 2017 to celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday.
The fact of the matter is, TD Place is a perfect venue for Grey Cup, boasting a wide array of restaurants and a beautiful stadium. The game day atmosphere at Lansdowne is always spectacular and would surely be a fantastic experience for anyone lucky enough to take it in.
Furthermore, having the Grey Cup at TD Place would require the installation of at least 16,000 temporary seats in order to get stadium capacity up from 24,000 to 40,000, which seems to be the ideal Grey Cup crowd size these days. The temporary seats could see double duty if the NHL proves rumours right and grants the Ottawa Senators an outdoor game against the Montreal Canadiens.
The last time Ottawa hosted the Grey Cup was in 2004. The local team was called the Renegades and its owners were about to cut and run after raking in a healthy Grey Cup profit. The big game itself was notable because a) 51,242 packed Frank Clair Stadium to watch it, b) Damon Allen won his fourth (and final) championship and c) Wally Buono made the bonehead decision to start Dave Dickenson over Casey Printers, the CFL MOP who passed for 5088 yards, rushed for another 500 and put up 44 TDs that year.
For many in R-Nation, hosting the 2017 Grey Cup will allow them to finally see what all the fuss is about. Though Ottawa’s fan base is littered with die-hards who remember the glory years of the Rough Riders, quite a few fans either only know the off-field mess that was the Renegades or are completely new to the CFL, jumping in with the return of the Redblacks.
R-Nation has already earned the reputation of being a loud, passionate, and more importantly, young fan base. Considering the CFL is always driving to engage millennials, having the Grey Cup in Ottawa would ride the fan momentum that OSEG has already created and solidify a new generation of fans.
Lastly, hosting the Grey Cup would not only energize R-Nation, but also ownership. 2017 will mark the Redblacks’ 4th year in the league, and many of their young players will be in their prime with valuable experience under their belts. There’s no reason to think that Ottawa couldn’t conceivably be playing at home for Earl Grey’s trophy, much like they did in 1925, 1939 and 1940.
How magical would it be for the Nation’s Capital to win their 10th Grey Cup during Canada’s sesquicentennial?