The Canadian Football League began laying out its plans for this year’s Grey Cup in Hamilton on Thursday, saying the traditional week of events surrounding the championship game will be altered because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Plans for a major concert series and other large-scale fan events have been put aside, as Ontario still has capacity restrictions for non-seated, general admission indoor events.
“The plans for Grey Cup Week this year are being modified due to limitations caused by the lingering effects of COVID-19 restrictions, which have greatly impacted the planning and operations of the event(s) over the last 18 months,” the league said in a release.
“With just 59 days remaining until the 108th Grey Cup, the modifications are necessary, but the spirit of Grey Cup will be alive and well in Hamilton this December, with tons of fun to be had at local bars and restaurants.”
The league also announced its board of governors voted this week to also award Hamilton the 2023 Grey Cup, so the city will get another opportunity soon to deliver on its original Grey Cup plan.
“We have worked very closely with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, and their fellow teams across the country, on this plan,” said commissioner Randy Ambrosie. “It’s exciting, responsible and fair. It delivers an exciting and complete championship game day experience for this year’s Grey Cup game, it responsibly modifies our plan for Grey Cup Week this year due to circumstances beyond our control, and it’s only fair to award another Grey Cup to Hamilton in 2023, so Hamilton gets an opportunity down the road to fully realize its bold and ambitious plans for hosting Grey Cup.
“Hamilton has waited 25 years to host another Grey Cup. Under this plan, it will host two Grey Cups in three years.”
The 108th Grey Cup game, scheduled for Dec. 12, is expected to feature a full-capacity Tim Hortons Field, with every fan fully vaccinated. Capacity is set at 24,000 and no temporary seating will be added. Tickets go on sale next week for season ticket holders across the league, followed by the sale to the general public starting Oct. 26.
The 109th Grey Cup will take place in Regina in 2022 after that province’s plan to host the 2020 Grey Cup was cancelled at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.