Alouettes want to host the Grey Cup but where will they play it?

CFL commissioner Randy Ambrosie is speaking in Hamilton tonight as part of his cross-Canada tour and one of the questions he’s inevitably going to face will surround when Hamilton is going to host a Grey Cup, something they haven’t done since 1996.

But they aren’t the only ones looking to get back in the game.

The Montreal Alouettes also want to get back in the Grey Cup rotation according to team president Patrick Boivin. Montreal is a great city and the fan base could likely use the infusion of interest and attention that comes with hosting the CFL’s marquee event. Montreal hosted its last Grey Cup in 2008, the second-longest drought after Hamilton.

The only problem: where will they play the game?

Boivin appeared with Randy Ambrosie as part of the CFL commissioner’s cross-country tour which launched in Montreal in early February.

The issue for the Alouettes has been the lack of a suitable facility – a concern which Boivin did not address in his remarks.

Percival Molson Stadium, where the Alouettes play their home games, has a capacity of just 25,012 and has precious little room for temporary expansion. Last year’s Grey Cup in Ottawa was hosted at TD Place in front of just over 36,000 fans, which included 10,000 temporary seats.

The 2008 game was played at Olympic Stadium but concerns over the structural integrity of the roof mean that events cannot be held if there is more than three centimetres of snow. Given that the Grey Cup is played in November – remember last year’s Snow Bowl? – that’s not a risk the CFL is likely to take.

In November, the Quebec provincial government announced plans to replace the existing roof at a cost of between $200 and $250 million but work isn’t expected to be completed by 2023 at the earliest – two years after Boivin’s suggested host date.

The 2018 Grey Cup is set to be hosted in Edmonton and there are a few other CFL franchises likely interested in mounting a bid for what’s become a lucrative event for the host team, city and league. The Saskatchewan Roughriders, who last hosted in 2013, have a brand new facility as do the Tiger-Cats. Hamilton, however, is still embroiled in litigation over the stadium and city council has said a bid will not proceed until those issues are resolved.

Still, a Grey Cup in Montreal, one of the most enjoyable cities on the CFL circuit, sounds like fun – if Boivin can find a place to play the actual game.

Drew Edwards

Drew Edwards

Drew Edwards is into his eighth season covering the CFL and the Ticats for the Hamilton Spectator. He is the founder and editor of 3DownNation.
Drew Edwards
Drew Edwards
About Drew Edwards (1278 Articles)
Drew Edwards is into his eighth season covering the CFL and the Ticats for the Hamilton Spectator. He is the founder and editor of 3DownNation.

43 Comments on Alouettes want to host the Grey Cup but where will they play it?

  1. “Given that the Grey Cup is played in November – remember last year’s Snow Bowl? – that’s not a risk the CFL is likely to take.”
    It’s not likely to be in November in 2021. After the season is moved up a month it will be in late October.

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  2. I can see why the Als are interested. The Grey Cup brings a huge amount of cash to the city. Edmonton was saying, earlier this year, that the value to the city is expected to hit $100 Million. Not to mention how much cash goes into team coffers. But it’s not reasonable to host one in Montreal given the circumstances right now.

    • $100 Million? seriously? the figures are always overblown. They tend to estimate costs based upon 50,000 fans spending money at hotels, bars etc but the majority of fans are locals who would not likely be out spending money in bars, restaurants etc
      There may be 20k visitors filling up all the hotels and the bars/restaurants for one or two nights but the figure is likely around the $10 – 20 MILLION.

      The important thing is the cash to the team coffers, obviously it’s not as high when there are 36k paying an average of $250 per ticket.

      Montreal filled the Olympic stadium in 2008 but could they do it again? they had no problem getting 60,000 soccer fans in there for their playoff game against TFC but I doubt the CFL can get crowds like again for a Grey Cup.

      • The Wetenhalls don’t deserve a red cent, considering the disrespect they’ve shown Alouettes fans consistently over the years.
        Get rid of Reed, find a franchise quarterback and stop screwing over fans and players alike. Better yet, sell the *&%^$ team.

  3. If Montreal is going to host a Grey Cup it has to be at Olympic Stadium. Waiting two extra years should not be a big deal. Its better to do it right at the big stadium rather than doing it at Percival Molson Stadium.

    • They can’t do it Molson stadium, no room for temp seats and the university would likely not allow it

  4. that high school stadium hamilton wasted their money on isn’t good enough either, with the history they have there that was an embarrassment of incompetence with all involved! location, size and design, all wrong hamilton. yes to montreal in 2023 with a new roof and new field turf.

    • Which stadium in Hamilton are you talking about?
      If you are talking about TH Field it was funded almost entirely by the province for the Pan Am Games.
      They authorized a 15k stadium and the city and the Ticats came up with the rest of the money to allow it to be 24k.
      Any other site in Hamilton would never have been approved by the review boards OMB etc. It was the only site that could’ve been ready in time.
      It was build it now or lose funding. Without the Pan Am Games the Ticat fans would still be sat on the old benches at IWS

      • You are right and in a perfect world they would have had a stadium in a nicer area but they would still be waiting for approval now.
        In any other area in that city there would be law suits, the NIMBYs complaining about traffic, OMB hearings, site clean ups, zoning changes yikes! it would have gone on and on and the Pan am funding would have gone somewhere else.
        The IWS site was the only site that was already approved, zoned and everything in place

        • huh!? I live in hamilton and have been to that so called stadium. there were 4 sites at play and many striking designs with parking. don’t make excuses for imbecile politicians and red tape, every other cfl city goes through the same thing. how is it we ended up with a makeshift football stadium named after a hockey player in the same stupid location..only in hamtown! fred “sadeyes” eisenburger is the biggest donut in hamiltons history, it says something when we have to go backwards to pick a mayor, much like the stadium. hidden washrooms, exposed crooked pipes, falling speakers, blown up transformers, no room for your feet, no water, overcrowded mezzanine trying to get a beer, radioshack sound system, etc etc, but I guess now we have a better view of the factories. hamilton could’ve made a statement after failed attempts at hotels, casinos, arenas, a proper downtown, on and on, we failed miserably yet again! if all this failed crap was to save money, how come my property taxes keep going up every year?

          • and just to follow up. it had nothing to do with hearings or any of that other stuff, the largest population in this city is on the mountain and still growing, they had a parcell of land on the mountain ready to go and with parking but that was too brave and forward thinking, even the bayfront was ready and again with parking, a beautiful design..NO it was a bunch of egos in a room that lost site of the bigger picture for the city and they all stood their ground until the 11th hour when a dumb decision was made out of futility.

          • Happy Cat Fan // February 22, 2018 at 8:09 pm //

            well crybaby there’s always Toronto we don’t need whiners like you here ,most fans are happy we got a new stadium instead of old Ivor Wynne and if taxes are bothering you your stuck not much lower than Hamilton’s

    • Lennywasout // February 22, 2018 at 6:21 pm //

      You’re a narrow minded idiot.

  5. I can see it all now, The corrupt politions selling contracts to the mafia to put on a garbage can roofs ,law suits, and bags of money flying everywhere….GO RIDERS GO

  6. Grey Cup 2019 must be played in Hamilton..For This Historic reason..
    I’ts the 150TH Year of the founding of The Hamilton Football Club November 1869,Which was the the Humble beginning of what is today The Canadian Football LEAGUE.Also its the 20th anniversary of the 1999 Grey Cup Champions Hamilton Tiger Cats. Maybe you should pass this onto the Mayor and The commissioner and not worry about who is on what Neg list.

    • Must be? what if Hamilton doesn’t want to host it?
      They have not expressed any interest to hold a Grey Cup.

  7. Weslee , you forgot , the threat of separatism and costing Western Canada another $87.9 billion
    Yup – Grey Cup in Montreal should make ‘some’ money

    Eh – Dave !!

  8. The GC is the silver bullet for the clubs… big cash infusion and tons of awareness. I flew out to the 2008 GC in Montreal. Was one of the best experiences ever – with over 67,000 people in attendance! The site lines were fine. The only complaint was back then, there weren’t a lot of amenities nearby, I,e.; pubs, restaurants. Downtown Montreal was fantastic though. Imagine if they were able to fill it again for the GC!

    Montreal needs a new proper stadium with nice branded seating, corporate suites. Right now it’s embarrassing for the league with white beer tents looking over the end zones and soccer markings all over the field. Compound that with a losing record… high level players won’t want to go there.

    • Big Pierre // February 22, 2018 at 3:25 pm //

      That was 2008 when interest in the Als and the CFL was high. I don’t see the same interest now. They likely could not fill it for a Grey Cup.
      The soccer team has filled the stadium with over 60k for Impact playoff games.
      You are right about the area, no bars or restaurants near the Olympic stadium

    • They do have a nice stadium in the East End that seats 21,000, Saputo – Soccer specific. No advertising on the field and not spoiled with CFL lines.
      The stadium was funded and built by……..Saputo……
      Maybe the Als should get their own stadium.

      • Tailgate YYCl // February 22, 2018 at 3:43 pm //

        …..and you will be the first to whine if they try….

      • And the Saputo later received $23 million in Quebec government funding to expand the stadium from its original size of about 13,000 to approximately 21,000.

    • I agree the Bif Owe was a fantastic place to go when it was rocking with 60K or so. I went to several events at the Olympics, tons of Expos and Alouettes games, in the day.
      I wouldn’t go NEAR the place now, with 67,000 people in attendance. It’s a disaster waiting to happen, especially if you’ve seen the way it was put together, the corners that were cut, and the falling concrete that’s somehow managed to avoid crushing unsuspecting fans ever since.
      I’d LOVE to see a new Alouettes AND Expos stadium, if only someone were clever enough to properly design and downtown multi-purpose stadium that did justice to both.
      Not holding my breath.
      Oh, and we need to find sign and develop a &^%$#& quarterback. 5 Years before Calvillo retired.

  9. Edward Leslie // February 22, 2018 at 3:57 pm //

    That Olympic stadium has been such a black hole fo finding. Here it is, over 40 years after construction, and it still is. Spending $200-250 million to fix the roof??!! Why not take that money and build a brand spanking bee 30,000 seat stadium for the Alouettes??
    B.C. place is another massive “overhaul”, indtead if soending less for a smaller new stadium. Crazy!

    • Lennywasout // February 22, 2018 at 6:24 pm //

      Exactly…..THF was 150 million. 250 would pay for a really nice stadium. Stop throwing good money after bad Montreal. The big O should be demolitions.

      • The only modern structure ( by design ) on the planet earth that can be compared to the Ancient Pyramids of Egypt is The Big ” O “. Would you throw the first stone to demolish history !

  10. Edward Leslie // February 22, 2018 at 3:58 pm //

    Black hole of FUNDING, not Finding. Anybody know how to remove Auto correct? LOL

  11. The thing with BC Place is that it would have been massively expensive… like $250 mil to remediate (tear down and recycle, etc) so revamp was what they did… and it’s pretty awesome. Only gripe… retractable roof is more like a sunroof on a Corolla… way too small. So this is likely same scenario in Montreal… would cost zillions to remediate.

  12. Not sure why a new roof would cost $250 MM. You can build a pretty nice stadium for that amount.

  13. I’ve been to four Grey Cup Games in Montreal – lots of fun, especially with hockey tickets for Saturday night and fine dining (and drinking and ballet dancers) everywhere.

    Unfortunately, The Big-O (aka “Owe) has never been a good place to watch a football game, even in the late 1970’s after it opened.

    If they plan to fix the roof for $250 million by 2013, count on it costing $500 million and being ready for the 2030 Grey Cup – seriously.

    Hamilton should seek to host the 2019 Grey Cup for all the reasons given above – both ownership and the fans deserve it.

    I attended both the 1972 and 1996 games (I believe those are the only times the city has hosted the game in my lifetime), and had a blast both times, even in the ’96 blizzard (Eskies were robbed!)

    • just curious but why does hamilton deserve it? they put up the cheapest piece of crap they could think of, and built by mostly out of town people and as many non union workers as they could find, “what union town? to top it off the last grey cup didn’t even sellout, they were raffling $20 seats on game day! if that speaker fell during a game there would be no games there and lawsuits for 100 years. they still don’t even have a plan for the expanded seating, morons..there won’t be a cup there for many years, maybe a year in which nobody else wants it..maybe

      • Happy Cat Fan // February 22, 2018 at 8:12 pm //

        wow for a Hamiltonian you sure are bitter ,i live in Hamilton what you say we get a coffee and you can cry on my shoulder tough guy

      • “When no one else wants it” LOL Both Sask and Edmonton are the best atmospheres for the GC. You would sell out at Mosaic 10years in a row . If the league was smart, and wanted to generate more money, they would have the game in the west more often then not, rather than Toronto every 3 years it seems. The interest in the east doesn’t come close to that of the west. Rather disappointing, being a fan of the league as a whole.

        • totally agree, was in edmonton last year for the esks/riders game, great atmosphere, great people, great stadium. awesome sound! people were asking me if we built a stadium yet, lol I had to tell them that was it.

          • waveman is no Hamiltonian // February 23, 2018 at 1:51 pm //

            you are so full of bs who cares what you think ,your nothing but a negative prick that hates Hamilton,go spew your bs somewhere else

        • waveman is no Hamiltonian // February 23, 2018 at 1:57 pm //

          since 2004 it has been held in the west 10 times i think you have had your fair share,by the way what ever happened to facts you guys spew bs with out caring if your right or wrong

  14. If they hold the GC in the Bog Owe, maybe they can hold a lottery and the loser gets a concrete pillar dropped on his/her head, from a great height.

  15. Doug Mc Clintock // February 23, 2018 at 3:10 pm //

    Everything is about money, it has ruined sports in general, the cost to just live is grazy

  16. When you say everything is about money, you couldn’t be more correct.
    It is ruining sports and the world in general.
    Professional sports players expect millions, but the guy buying tickets making
    thousands only, does not add up.
    Some thing very wrong with this scenario methinks.
    Loved the compete in the hockey team we sent to the olympics, rather than the millionaire players. True joy watching athletes performing for the love of the sport, and not for the greenbacks.

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