It’s safe to say the 2013 Grey Cup was incredibly successful for Regina. Not only were the Saskatchewan Roughriders in the big game, but they won the trophy at Taylor Field.
Not only that, Tourism Regina events, conventions and trade show manager Megan Bradshaw said the Grey Cup and week of festivities brought $85 million in economic activity to the provincial economy and $63 million to the Regina area.
“Economic impact to the city really means you have people coming into the hotels, you have people sitting in the restaurants which is great, you have our taxi cabs, people are going into shops and spending money,” she explained.
Key to Regina’s bid was turning Evraz Place, the home of Mosaic Stadium, into a “Grey Cup village” ahead of the game. All fan events, parties and concerts could take place at the same location at the stadium for the first time in league history.
This has the city eyeing an even bigger financial return.
“We’re anticipating about $95 million in economic impact to the city specifically,” Bradshaw said. “Tourism Regina will be offering some in-kind services, we’re going to be doing things like event activation and marketing services.”
The CFL has also been working on expanding the league’s prescience in Europe and Mexico. The first Mexican player draft took place in January.
This opens the doors for Regina playing host to an international audience in 2020.
However, economist Jason Childs cautions there’s an x-factor, no amount of event planning can account for, that helped make 2013 the success it was.
“I’d be surprised if we hit those numbers again, that was an incredible confluence of events. Having the Riders in the Grey Cup, in Regina, we can’t bank on that happening again,” Childs said.
“That said, it’s entirely possible. It is a big national draw.”
Regina has proven it can host major events such as the Tim Horton’s Brier, Memorial Cup, LPGA CP Women’s Open and upcoming NHL Memorial Classic.
Childs agreed with Bradshaw that it is beneficial for local economies to be able to pull in these major draws.
However, Childs added you can’t overbuild for them. With the plans of turning Evraz Place into a Grey Cup village, Childs said the most economical option would be to supplement existing facilities with temporary structures, like food trucks.
“We’ve got to make sure we get the capacity correct for the ongoing demand for these services. We don’t want to have these services get built, have a lot of money and time invested in them, and they’re not sustainable over the long haul,” he said.
Now that more formal plans can be drafted with Regina winning the Grey Cup bid, Childs added that it will be important to consider municipal costs that come with hosting.
“We’re going to have a big increase in policing costs, that’s a known. You’re going to have that many people around and that much alcohol being consumed and that much cannabis there’s going to likely be altercations and problems,” he said.
This will be the fourth time Regina hosts the Grey Cup.