The ticket prices for the 2019 Grey Cup in Calgary have emerged and they ain’t cheap.
The most affordable ticket is $119 – the four upper corners of the grandstands at McMahon Stadium – while the most expensive tickets are $419, a section of seats that covers the lower bowl from the goal line to goal line.
Here have a look at the seating chart, which was sent to Stampeders season ticket holders – they’ll get first crack, as always – but included the regular prices as well.
While there is always griping about the cost of Grey Cup tickets, the biggest concern seems to be the lack of seating at the affordable end of the scale. With just four small sections available at $99, the next price point jumps more than a full $100 to $219 and the vast majority of tickets are $269 and up. And that’s before taxes and the zillions of inevitable fees.
They also mark a steep increase from the 2018 Grey Cup in Edmonton where the cheapest ticket was $99, the most expensive $325 but there were a ton of tickets in the $125 and $200 range.
The difference in the prices is likely the size of the stadium. Commonwealth Stadium in Edmonton seats in excess of 55,000 while McMahon in Calgary is around 37,000. They haven’t added additional seating in the end zone which would have increased capacity with a swath of affordable seats.
Let’s get to some complaining.
These Calgary #GreyCup tickets might be outside of my budget. Thinking of holding out for the inevitable 'You and 12 of your friends' contests.
— Grey Cup Society (@crgcas) March 6, 2019
Could have had end zone seating to help offset some of those huge price increases but nope. Unacceptable in my mind
— Kris Cherewyk (@KrisCherewyk) March 6, 2019
I’m in section I and after a long hard decision I’ve decided to decline my seats and take the chance of getting some at a later date or not at all depending on weather and who’s playing. $800.00 for 2 seats is just out of my budget.
— Paul Westenberger (@PaulWestenberge) March 3, 2019
Preeeeettttyyy sure I'm gonna end up watching the game from a nearby bar. The prices are nuts imo
— Stephen S (@Safimod) March 3, 2019
The real danger for the CFL and Grey Cup committee in Calgary is that Rider fans will stay home and save their money. Saskatchewan is slated to host the game in 2020 so a swath of Riderville may decide to stay home, save their money and buy an extra Pilsener or two.
And remember what happened the last time a team and the league overpriced Grey Cup tickets? The 2016 game in Toronto turned into a public relations disaster for everyone involved after setting the most expensive ticket price at a laughable $899 and the cheapest seats at $169. They got roasted in the media and ended up giving away tickets to Bell Media employees and suffering through the Pizza Pizza fiasco.
Crowds in Calgary have been OK-ish the last couple of years – down slightly but still fourth in the CFL – and the last Grey Cup game in the city (2009) was a success. Given that the Stamps have been participants in the last three championship games, organizers may be banking on some home cooking to boost the numbers.
But setting prices too high may send the wrong message to fans in the early going and that can be hard to come back from. If history is any guide, sales to the general public will likely start in early June and how fast they go will be an indicator whether the prices are right.