Ottawa’s bid for the 2017 Grey Cup game has been submitted, and the Canadian Football League board of governors is expected to discuss the issue at meetings later this month.
“It’s really a matter of us being able to demonstrate that we are able to put on a good Grey Cup and that we satisfy the rest of the league governors that we can do it. We certainly want it,” Bernie Ashe, chief executive officer of Redblacks franchise owner Ottawa Sports & Entertainment Group, said Monday.
Under terms of the expansion agreement between OSEG and the CFL, a Grey Cup championship game is to be conducted at TD Place within the first four seasons of the franchise, and the Redblacks’ fourth season will be 2017.
However, winning the go-ahead to play host to the contest and the weeklong festival leading up to it is not automatic, and the league usually only announces one year at a time.
The 2016 Grey Cup will take place in Toronto. The Redblacks lost the 2015 final to the Edmonton Eskimos at Investors Group Field in Winnipeg, while the Calgary Stampeders held off the Hamilton Tiger-Cats to claim the title at B.C. Place in Vancouver in 2014.
During an appearance in Ottawa in October, commissioner Jeffrey Orridge said only that the city would have another Grey Cup “in good time.” Jeff Hunt, an OSEG partner and president of its sports division, said that a bid had not yet been submitted.
Hunt and OSEG partners Roger Greenberg and John Ruddy are the Redblacks’ representatives to the CFL board.
Any bid for the first Grey Cup game in Ottawa since 2004 would involve a business plan built on temporary seating to increase TD Place stadium capacity to somewhere closer to 40,000 from its current figure of 24,000.
“We have made it very clear we want to do it in 2017, so all roads are leading to 2017 as the right time,” Ashe said.
The national capital will be host to several major sports competitions as part of celebrations of the 150th anniversary of Confederation, including: Canadian Olympic curling team trials; Canadian championships in track and field, road cycling and canoe/kayak; an LPGA Tour golf championship. The city and the Ottawa Senators are also hoping to hold an outdoor National Hockey League game.