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Zip lines to replica fields, Vancouver unveils 2024 Grey Cup event plans

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From a zip line between Vancouver’s convention centres to replica mini CFL fields, a slate of sponsors and events for the upcoming 2024 Grey Cup were unveiled on Thursday.

The CFL awarded the 2024 Grey Cup game to Vancouver after both the Winnipeg Blue Bombers and B.C. Lions had bid to host that contest.

“Vancouverites are incredibly excited to host the Grey Cup this year,” said mayor Ken Sim.

He said the event is expected to bring $100 million of economic activity to the city, with fans from across the league expected to attend.

The pre-game festival will run several days, with an official fan zone in downtown Vancouver along with fan areas set up at the Vancouver Convention Centre.

One attraction, a zip line, will run over the water between the two convention centre buildings on Vancouver harbour.

There will be another zip line set up in downtown Vancouver, allowing two people to go at the same time on two different lines.

The festival will also feature a fan zone with food trucks and 20 musical acts.

“We want to make it a hard act to follow,” said Duane Vienneau, the chief operating officer for the Lions.

He acknowledged that the team’s preference, obviously, is for the Lions to be in the final but says the event’s financial projections aren’t reliant on that.

“We want to be in the game, obviously, the ultimate goal is to host the Grey Cup, be in the Grey Cup,” Vienneau. “You plan for if you’re not in, ‘how does this work?’

“We go on sale before the season starts and we try to separate the Grey Cup from the team itself.”

Vancouver has hosted the league’s championship game 16 times before, most recently in 2014 when the Calgary Stampeders downed the Hamilton Tiger-Cats 20-16.

“This is a Grey Cup city, you want to have Grey Cups here in Vancouver for sure,” said CFL commissioner Randy Ambrosie. “B.C. Place is such a unique building and has such a great history of hosting games.”

Ambrosie paid tribute to the work being done by Amar Doman, the Lion’s owner, who has overseen a revitalization in the team’s fortunes and interest off the field.

“I think the energy we’re seeing, the momentum we’re feeling in this market is palpable. You can feel what is happening here,” he said.

Doman bought the team in 2021 and has worked to encourage fan engagement, from theme nights to transportation for fans outside of the Lower Mainland.

Vienneau said his team has seen an uptick in season ticket sales following a strong performance last season, when the Lions opened the upper bowl of B.C. Place for fans.

The CFL says further details about entertainment at the Grey Cup are expected to be released in May.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 29, 2024

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