'07 Grey Cup News

http://www.hamiltonspectator.com/

The Toronto Grey Cup game is still nine months in the future, but 2000 tickets have already been sold to Hamilton Tiger-Cat subscribers.

Surprised, you say? Who isn't?

It will certainly surprise many of the roughly 200 delegates at the annual CFL Congress to hear from the Toronto Argonauts today just how swimmingly things are going for the first Grey Cup at Rogers Centre (nee Skydome) in 15 years.

"We want to show the league and the rest of the country that the Grey Cup and the Grey Cup Festival can flourish in Toronto," Argo president and CEO Keith Pelley told The Spec here yesterday.

"I keep hearing that the game will get lost here."

Tickets go on sale to the general public on March 1, the same day that the Cup committee, led by former Ottawa Renegades' owner Brad Watters, will announce several major attractions connected to Grey Cup week.

Early indicators are that organizers are on the right track. Except for a one-day window to the public, which resulted in 10,000 tickets moved, Grey Cup 2007 ticket sales have been available only to Argonaut and Ticat season's ticket holders. Double blue boosters have grabbed 10,000 so far and another 2,000 have gone to Hamilton fans.

With sponsor buys, about 30,000 tickets have been moved. And all 60 private boxes available to the Argos have already been sold, at $25,000 each. Pelley says the other 60 boxes have been retained by the Rogers Centre.

"I'm confident we'll sell out," Pelley said.

The Ticats are connected to the Cup committee through MRX, Bob Young's umbrella of sports and entertainment management companies. Pelley said the Ticats, despite promoting tickets to their subscribers, won't get a direct slice of the Cup profits. But MRX will profit by having the rights to the Vanier Cup, which will be a major part of the Grey Cup Festival.

The national university championship will be played on Friday night, two days before the Grey Cup game, and a lower-bowl ticket for the CFL game could not be purchased without buying a Vanier Cup ticket.

"So the lower bowl will be sold for the Vanier Cup," said Ticat vice-president Adam Provost. "But what we'll be working on is getting those ticket-holders to actually go to the game."

It's possible that, from 2009 onward, the Grey Cup and Vanier Cup could always be played in the same city on the same weekend. This year's doubleheader is a first, but before MRX got involved, the 2008 Grey Cup had been awarded to Montreal and the Vanier Cup was already scheduled for Hamilton's Ivor Wynne Stadium (because the Ontario conference is the host of this year's and next year's games).

"The 2007 Cup is a test-drive to see if will work," Provost said.

University football officials will be watching to see if their big game gets lost amid the professional promotions. But Cup organizers have done the right thing in blocking off a core of the city -- Front Street and Bremmer Boulevard near Rogers Centre will be closed to traffic through the four-day weekend -- and keeping non-football activities close to the dome.

Party central will be at the south convention centre and in a nearby outdoor park, both adjacent to the dome. Other events will likely be held at the Air Canada Centre, the Liberty Grand on the CNE grounds and at Roy Thomson Hall.

"You can't just take the Saskatchewan Grey Cup and put it in Toronto," Pelley said. "It's very important that we have the great feel from a Saskatchewan..., but you need to create something else. Toronto is so saturated in terms of entertainment, for it to become the pinnacle of the week it has to captivate everyone.

"We'll have five 'Wows!' to announce on March 1."

While Pelley wouldn't release any details, The Spec has learned that big-time Canadian bands The Barenaked Ladies, Sam Roberts and Great Big Sea will be holding concerts during the weekend.

Pelley says making an impact in a crowded market will be costly. The budget is expected to be about $12 million, most of which will be recovered in gate receipts. The profit will be derived from other events connected to the festival.

And will Air Canada Centre -- meaning Maple Leaf Sport and Entertainment Ltd. -- be involved? "I'll tell you March 1," Pelley said.

Sounds great! If Argo attendance doesn't go up this year, than it definately should in 2008. Such is the typical 'Grey Cup effect' that also hit Vancouver a year ago.

This is the sort of stuff I want to read and hear and makes me closer to want to buy tickets for a GC in Toronto - again. I went to the '92 GC there and vowed to never, ever again buy GC tickets for a Toronto one, the city was so "Blue Jays, Blue Jays, that's all that matters" that I was sick of the city. Ok, they were winning World Series but I was sick to my stomach of all this "Blue Jays are Canadian culture way more than the CFL etc." out of Toronto.

I was a Blue Jays fan before an Argos fan but I sincerely hope they have a terrible season for the sake of the CFL.

I don't wish bad on the Blue Jays, in MLB the Tigers are my team. But I just hope Toronto can show it can party with a great Canadian tradition like the GC and show it can be a great Canadian city that relates to the hamiltons, Winnipegs, Reginas etc.

Yes. And in order for that to happen the Blue Jays must fail.

You're probably right TIMH.

Earl, I'm surprised you have a favorite ball team.
I had the impression that you hated baseball.
Guess I was wrong.
You really love baseball dont'cha.

The 92 Grey Cup was Flutie's favorite CFL moment and you were there Earl. Couldn't be all that bad. Gotta look at the positives. At least you could afford the tickets then, they are actually the highest priced ever this year. Funny how thing turns around. A 2007 sellout, with high tickets, scalpers. The CFL is in alright shape.

Well ruff, I'll admit I still watch some baseball, growing up in London Ontario with a father who loved the Tigers, we made the trip to Detroit at least once a year and took in some games. The game, while not nearly as entertaining as the CFL, is still ok. What isn't ok is how Paul Godfrey and the Blue Jays have turned me off of MLB with all his "NFL coming" talk. That's what I hate.

Yes ArgoZ, I did actually enjoy the '92 game but it wasn't any where near sold-out which detracted from the atmosphere for me and I have cousins in Toronto who just were telling me "Blue Jays, Blue Jays are the best" and they also said "the CFL I hope it dies, we don't need that little no good for nothing crap bush league in Toronto". Being with CFL fans at the game was great and being around the stadium with them (me and the ex-wife didn't partake in any of the parties, just went to Toronto game day) was great but after that, and as I said no where near a sell-out, I wanted out of Toronto as fast as I could, it left a very bad taste in my mouth, not the game, great for Flutie and the Stamps, but just that Toronto didn't support the game that much and didn't care.

I still haven't made my mind if I will go to this year's GC there but Keith Pelley and the Argos, now locally owned, and what I've been reading, are swaying me to go again. Pelley and the Toronto Argo owners are the best thing that ever happened to the Argos which also helps the CFL I think, especially here in southern Ontario where we have lots of wannabee Americans living.

Got to agree with you, Earl.

Great news ... I hope it's as successful as it sounds like it will be. I missed the 24-hour ticket sale by minutes (literally - such are the problems with trying to coordinate a purchase with a friend in Montreal), so I'll be ready to go on the 1st ...

The Grey Cup in Toronto will probably be a sellout!
WHY?
Well, it seems like Montreal will most likely be there again (with the Argos being in the race if Damon comes back) and Als fans have been waiting a LONG time to see the Als in a Grey Cup live.
AND the Vanier Cup the same week-end... well let's just say the Province has the teams to get there again.
QUEBEC might take over the Grey Cup in TORONTO.

:D

So you're insinuating that the Als won't be in the 2008 GC at "The Big Uh-Oh"? :wink:

Just a quick heads-up for those who are still interested: the remaining tickets for the 2007 Grey Cup go on sale tomorrow (March 1st) through Ticketmaster at 10 a.m. Eastern time. According to a Toronto newspaper ad, there are less than 20,000 tickets left.

Also, for those who will be heading to Toronto for Grey Cup/Vanier Cup week, they will also be selling through Ticketmaster a "3 day Concert Series" pass for Thursday thru Saturday of the Festival (although it would kinda conflict with those taking in the VC). The one stip on the Concert Series ducats is that you have to be 19 or over and have valid gov't issued ID; adding speculation that Toronto will be soldifying the "Grand National Drunk" rep.

Oh yeah I'm still interested!!!! But nervous now, if only 20,000 are left. The website says something about the waiting list being suspended. But, I'm sure if I'm on right at 10 ET it'll be fine.

Any word on how much the concert series pass would cost? Also, I imagine the VC would be in the afternoon/early evening, so it would conflict toooooo much with this concert pass.

Also, any idea if you'll be able to get a ticket for the VC, if you're NOT sitting in the lower bowl for the GC? I thought I heard that every lower bowl ticket sold for the GC came with a VC ticket ...

There will be an opportunity for those with Grey Cup tickets, but sans Vanier Cup tickets to score ducats to the VC. They will be on sale March 1st @ 10 am, as well, for the price of $30 ea. (plus Ticketmaster's markup).

As for the concert tickets, I've yet to hear a price for the "3 day" pass; however, I would imagine it would be announced when they go on sale. As for who'll be playing those 3 nights, I don't know as of yet, but it would probably be amongst the "Festival announcements" being made on March 1st.

whos going?..im scoring my tickets tomorrow!

ME!!!! It will be my first time in Toronto (airport doesn't count). And I plan on doing it up nice. But it is grey cup so that is kinda assumed.

I'll be there in my season's seats for both the VC and the GC.........the only problem I have is that I might have 1 extra ticket.....my wife and I split since I bought the tickets....but I'm still bringing my boys for the experience....I know they'll enjoy it. :lol: