I’ve seen a lot of ballyhoo over the pricing for the Grey Cup tickets for the 107th edition of the Grand National Drunk and I don’t get it.
This is the Grey Cup. The once-a-year winner-take-all spectacle that pumps Canadiana through your veins in a way that no other sporting event can.
This isn’t Game 1 of a Leafs playoff run, tickets for which in the 300 level of the ACC are already going for nearly $300USD on VividSeats.com. It’s the finale of the CFL season. The culmination of 21 weeks of football that is unparalleled in the world.
I’ve seen the tweets and rants. “My seats are so expensive!” they say upon seeing the listed prices, as though paying somewhat less than $420 a seat for a never-to-be-repeated event is outlandish.
Calgary hasn’t hosted the big game since 2009. Other experiences in Calgary aren’t cheap either. The Cirque du Soliel is coming to town this summer. For their show, which never ceases to amaze, they are asking for somewhere between $49 at the low end and $250 at the top end. Of course, that is for one of several shows, identical in every way for a touring performance.
Want to see Fleetwood Mac? Premium tickets for that show go for $650 plus fees for an iconic band that has released two new albums in the last 30 years.
Stanley Cup Finals tickets in Washington last year? How’s $800 a seat for nosebleeds? Secondary market for sure, but that’s still what it took to get into the building.
Headed to the Super Bowl? How about $2,500 to $3,500 for a seat to see the Patriots play somebody? Sure you may get a better half time show than the Grey Cup, but I’m not sure that should be the difference.
Tickets in 2009 had nearly the same starting point, but there were 10,000 additional seats available in the endzone.
Keeping McMahon at a 37,000 capacity makes for shorter lines at the concessions, restrooms and entry. All of those issues plagued the 2009 game. Stadium renovations and additions should help alleviate those concerns this time around when dealing with a crowd that has shrunk by 20 percent.
For context, I am a Stamps season ticket holder; have been for years. I have tickets in the family section where I get one seat at regular price and a free Child’s ticket for my son to accompany me. I pay $250 for both seats total for one preseason, nine regular season, and lately one playoff game. That’s $11 a ticket.
By comparison, my Grey Cup ticket is on the six-month payment plan for a total of $480. I didn’t hesitate to say yes. I said yes because this is the greatest sporting event in Canada.
I was there in 2008, 2012, 2014, and 2018 when my team won. I was there in 2009 for the 13th Man debacle. I saw Lui Passaglia play the last game of his career in 2000. I can’t replicate those experiences in a bar, or in my house with friends on a nice TV.
The game is the lifeblood of Canada and is priced accordingly. Premium experiences have premium prices. I don’t and won’t ever see the issue.