Province announces $3 million in funding for 2021 and 2023 Grey Cup games in Hamilton

The provincial government has announced a total of $3 million for Hamilton to host two Grey Cup games — including the one that is less than two weeks away.

$1.5 million of the funding will support costs associated with hosting the 108th Grey Cup on Dec. 12 at Tim Horton’s Field, while another $1.5 million will go toward the 110th Grey Cup and Grey Cup Festival in 2023.

Ontario’s minister of heritage, sport, tourism, and culture industries made the announcement on Wednesday.

Lisa MacLeod addressed those who might be critical of their tax dollars being spent on the Canadian Football League’s championship games, saying the city should expect to see a return investment of up to $200 million between the two Grey Cups.

“It is absolutely key and pivotal to the economic recovery of Ontario that sport hosting events can continue to occur, that we have a revival in our culture and arts sectors, that we bring back tourism to the extent that we saw pre-pandemic, and of course, that we remember our heritage.”

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She also said the funding is “a bit more” than the province usually contributes to a Grey Cup game.

“We felt this year more than any year that Ontario should be supporting local festivals and events like the Grey Cup … from the tourism perspective, filling our hotels and our restaurants, to the culture part of it, making sure that we’ve got live music again, which has been suffering probably the worst in the pandemic — and of course, live sport, getting that back, just making sure that we’ve got fans in stands.”

The funding announcement also included news that the Hamilton Tiger-Cats are releasing another 1,000 tickets for the upcoming Grey Cup game — which is anticipated to sell out.

Scott Mitchell, the Ticats’ CEO, said he expects that one in three Canadians will tune in for at least some of the game, and the $1.5 million should make the experience memorable for the fans watching on television and in the stadium.

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“After missing a Grey Cup last year, we couldn’t be more excited and don’t think it’s any more logical than to bring the Grey Cup back to the city where football matters,” Mitchell said.

Events leading up to the game will include the cup itself arriving in Hamilton on Tuesday and the CFL awards on Friday night.

The Tiger-Cats are slated to visit the Argos at Toronto’s BMO Field in the Eastern Final, the Ticats’ third straight trip to the league’s final four.

— with files from Rick Zamperin

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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