Manitoba government offers $5.5 million to help Blue Bombers bid for Grey Cup

Photo courtesy: Winnipeg Blue Bombers

The Winnipeg Blue Bombers are bidding to host the Grey Cup for the first time in almost a decade and will receive strong financial support in doing so.

Manitoba premier Heather Stefanson spoke at the club’s annual legacy dinner on Tuesday and announced that the provincial government will invest up to $5.5 million to support the team’s bid to host the 2024 or 2025 Grey Cup.

“Our government is proud to support the efforts of the Winnipeg Football Club to bring the Canadian Football League’s premiere event back to our capital city, home of the league’s loudest and most passionate fans,” said Stefanson in a statement.

“Winnipeg has earned a reputation as a very capable host of major sports and cultural events, including the successful staging of four prior Grey Cups, bolstered by impressive volunteer strength, and our province’s renowned hospitality and community spirit.”

The Blue Bombers are bidding to host the 2024 and 2025 Grey Cups, doubling up their bids to increase the odds of securing one of the events. Winnipeg last hosted the Grey Cup in 2015 when the Edmonton Football Team defeated the Ottawa Redblacks by a score of 26-20 in front of 36,634 fans at IG Field.

“We thank the province for their support in helping us with our bid to host the 2024 or 2025 Grey Cup,” the Blue Bombers wrote in a statement to 3DownNation. “Hosting a Grey Cup in our city and province comes with significant economic impact and we are excited to move forward with the CFL bidding process.”

The province believes that hosting the Grey Cup would boost economic activities by over $90 million, including $8.2 million in provincial tax revenues.

A study conducted by Sport Tourism Canada indicated that last year’s Grey Cup in Hamilton generated $35 million in economic impact in Ontario despite many of the large indoor events leading up to the game being cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The province of Ontario committed $3 million in financial support for Hamilton to host the 2021 and 2023 Grey Cups.

“As the home of back-to-back CFL champs, Winnipeg is a natural to host the league’s marquee event and the related festivities that energize the community during Grey Cup week, offering fun and excitement for fans of all ages,” said Andrew Smith, the provincial minister for sport, culture, and heritage.

“Thousands of visitors will contribute to the event’s considerable economic impact for our province, as they see for themselves why we are called ‘Friendly Manitoba’ and why Winnipeg is such a great sports city.”

The Blue Bombers have won back-to-back Grey Cups for the first time in six decades and recently secured the right to host the West Final on Sunday, Nov. 13 with a win over the Edmonton Elks.

This year’s Grey Cup is scheduled to be played on Sunday, Nov. 20 at Mosaic Stadium in Regina.