Hamilton named host city for 2021 CFL Grey Cup

Fans gather to listen to Tiger-Cats owner Bob Young on the club level of Tim Hortons Field during a Tiger-Cats-hosted viewing party after the Canadian Football League announced that the 2021 Grey Cup will be hosted by Hamilton. Anthony Urciuoli/900 CHML

Hamilton and Regina can rejoice — both cities have been named hosts for upcoming Grey Cups.

The 2021 festivities will take place at Hamilton’s Tim Hortons Field after Canada’s premier football championship heads west to Saskatchewan’s Mosaic Stadium in 2020.

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The Canadian Football League made the announcement Thursday night as viewing parties were held in both prospective markets, although none of the fans gathered knew for sure that the CFL would be announcing hosts for both 2020 and 2021.

Initially, it was announced that only one host city would be picked for next year’s 107th Grey Cup and that it was a three-horse race between Hamilton, Regina and Montreal.

The last Grey Cup to be played in Hamilton was in 1996 at Ivor Wynne Stadium.

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“On behalf of the entire Tiger-Cats organization, I want to thank the CFL, the board of governors and commissioner Randy Ambrosie for selecting our bid and awarding Hamilton the 2021 Grey Cup,” said Bob Young, caretaker of the Tiger-Cats.

“We also want to thank our fans from across TigerTown, our corporate partners and the City of Hamilton. Together, we have an incredible opportunity to showcase this community’s amazing growth and renaissance by hosting Canada’s largest sporting event during Hamilton’s 175th anniversary year.”

Fans and their dog gather in Hamilton as the CFL announced the city will host the 2021 Grey Cup. Anthony Urciuoli / 900 CHML

Tim Hortons Field — which sits atop the old host stadium — will likely be expanded from 23,218 to 35,000 seats for the title game. Tiger-Cats president of business operations Matt Afinec didn’t provide specifics but says the team wants to capitalize on the stadium’s unique space in a different way than just building temporary seats. He indicated that plans for the plaza space “focus on elements of the fan experience that we can drive through social viewing.”

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Hamilton city council voted to support the Hamilton Tiger-Cats’ bid to host the Grey Cup in either 2020 or 2021 and announced Friday that it has committed $1.7 million to the Grey Cup celebration for in-kind services, stadium readiness costs, contract staff, and community programming.

While projections are fluid, Hamilton Mayor Fred Eisenberger predicts the event will bring approximately $35 million in economic spinoff for the city. He also added that any potential light rail transit construction will not impact the Grey Cup festivities.

This will be the 11th time Hamilton has hosted the CFL championship game — the third most after Vancouver (16) and Toronto (48).

Regina, meanwhile, has hosted the Grey Cup three times. The most recent was in 2013, when the hometown Saskatchewan Roughriders defeated the Tiger-Cats 45-23 in front of 44,710 fans at the old Taylor Field.

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