Vancouver will host the 111th Grey Cup in 2024, the Canadian Football League club announced this morning – a culmination of a successful resurgence in the first full year under new owner Amar Doman.
Top league and club officials made the announcement at BC Place Stadium – which will host its 10th Grey Cup after the November 2024 event – along with provincial tourism minister Lisa Beare, incoming Vancouver mayor Ken Sim and PavCo president/CEO Ken Cretney among other representatives from the community.
CFL commissioner Randy Ambrosie made the announcement official via a televised message made from Toronto with Doman. It will be the 17th time the Grey Cup is hosted in Vancouver.
Lions COO Duane Vienneau said the success of the Lions’ bid reflected the complete package that Vancouver represented: A centralized event space for the full week’s festivities, a strong and re-emerging fan interest in the CFL and support from all the stakeholders involved.
“It’s a focus every year in Grey Cups for the CFL to have the festival, the game and everything [being] tight and compact,” Vienneau said. “It’s impossible to get a better environment than you do here in Vancouver, with BC Place, the Vancouver Convention Centre and all the hotels being in walking distance. That’s a true factor that really helped us win the bid.”
This year’s Grey Cup is scheduled for Nov. 20 at Regina’s Mosaic Stadium, followed by next year’s event to be held in Hamilton.
The announcement caps off a resurgent year for the Lions, both on and off the field. The Lions, led for half the season by emerging superstar Canadian quarterback Nathan Rourke, finished the regular season with a 12-6 record and securing a home playoff game this Sunday against the Calgary Stampeders.
Off the field, the season began with a One Republic concert that helped attract more than 30,000 fans to BC Place for the season opener on June 11 – leading to the club opening the stadium’s upper deck to accommodate ticket demand.
While attendance early in the season was tepid after the first game, numbers slowly began to grow as the team compiled a winning record with a high-profile star. For this Sunday’s playoff game – the first hosted by a Vancouver-based major league sports team in more than five years – BC Place is again opening up the upper deck to accommodate ticket demand.
Vienneau, who is replacing outgoing club president Rich LeLacheur, is formerly CFL’s chief Grey Cup and events officer. He spearheaded the organization of two Grey Cups in Edmonton as the executive director and was one of the first big hires made by Doman after the new owner took over the franchise from the estate of David Braley last year.
The new COO said the plan is to make 2024 a Grey Cup that’s unlike any other, utilizing such things as LED interactive displays where fans can race against a virtual CFL player in a 40-yard dash. Other items such as zip lines, kids activities, outdoor engagement and other unannounced festivities will also make full use of Vancouver’s venue space that week, Vienneau said.
“The Vancouver Convention Centre will be a big part of where we are,” he said. “We plan to take over every square inch of both East and West Vancouver Convention Centres. We are going to have traditional programming like galas, team parties and the awards, but we have also come up with a couple of new ideas. One of the things that was in our bid was the ultimate CFL experience.”