BlueBombers out of Debt**

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When 45,000 bundled-up football fans settle in their seats at Canad Inns Stadium tonight, many of them will have withstood five party-hopping and beer-swilling days on very little sleep.

Proving they have no shortage of energy, diehard CFL fans haven't wavered during the marathon that is Grey Cup week and are vowing to save their best for today's final.

"This place has been rocking all week so the atmosphere is going to be electric," said Edmonton native Mike Delmage. "This is Canada's national event and (partying) is really what it's all about."

Today's game is a sell-out. All 44,784 seats are spoken for. There were about 7,000 empty seats when Winnipeg last hosted the cup in 1998.

Fans have done their part, now it's up to the B.C. Lions and Montreal Alouettes to cap what has been a frenzied and memorable week of friendly Manitoba hospitality and fun.

Millions of fans will watch from their seats in the stadium, barstools or couches at house parties across Canada.

Winnipeg Convention Centre has been the hub of fan activity as the home of several team parties and socials.

Parties kicked into high gear on Friday as most hospitality suites were at or near capacity.


About 3,000 people took in a social headlined by rocker Sam Roberts, while others were being turned away from an overflowing Riderville, a free party hosted by the Saskatchewan Roughriders.

At press time, attendance at last night's events around the city was on pace to rival those of the night before. People took advantage of the last party night before the game.

Rowdy revellers didn't just come out after dark this week. A free breakfast put on by Calgary's hospitality committee drew more than a combined 2,500 people -- many of them overcoming stinging hangovers -- on Thursday and Friday mornings. More than 100,000 people were expected to be on the sidelines of yesterday's Grey Cup parade, one of the largest crowds and longest parades Winnipeg has hosted.

Some 15,000 out-of-province visitors are in the city to indulge in what Grey Cup week has to offer. They come with money to burn, and Blue Bombers and city officials figure the festivities will generate upwards of $50 million in revenue for local businesses.

Hotels, hostels and bed and breakfasts in Winnipeg and surrounding towns have been booked solid for weeks. Cash registers are ringing at retailers and restaurants

Behind the event is an organizing committee that put in three years of work and partnered with the city and province, many local and national sponsors, and about 1,000 volunteers.

"This week has been spectacular. The events have all been sold out and there has potentially been record attendance, although no one tracks numbers for that," said Lyle Bauer, president and CEO of the Blue Bombers.

His community-owned team could make a profit of $2 million to $3 million off the week's festivities, he said, erasing its $700,000 debt.

Fifty million dollars in revenue, about half of which will end up in government coffers, times 3 Grey cups (over 5 years), will pretty much cover the costs of building a basic CFL stadium. Some politician who wants to bring the CFL to his/her city should go to the media with this sort of plan. The politician will also get national attention should they have dreams of pursuing politics at a higher level. Local businesses will get a boost and the hosting city will also get national attention. It's basically a win-win situation for everybody except those who hate sports and want to see absolutely no money put towards it.

the Bluebombers should use those numbers to influence the manitoba government to kick in for a new stadium...

and the CFL should promise another Grey Cup to Winnipeg, should the stadium get built.

With this kind of money flowing into the economy of a GC city(not to mention construction and related off spin jobs that will stay for a life time), agree why wouldn't a Quebec City and Halifax want to get into the mix and get loans from all levels of government to build stadiums?