Above the 49: 2014 Grey Cup in Vancouver a tough act to follow
By Daniel Fung, Sports Network Columnist
Vancouver, BC (Sports Network) - The office of the CFL's BC Lions has been abuzz in the last week or so with news the organization may be on the verge of being awarded the 2014 Grey Cup Game.
However, before the Lions and their fans start rejoicing at the fact they are the front-runners to host the 102nd edition of the CFL's title game, they may be sobered by the thought it will be virtually impossible for them to duplicate the enthusiasm and the success in 2014 that they had in 2011 when they hosted the 99th edition of the Grey Cup game.
Forget the fact the hometown Lions authored one of the most remarkable stories in order to advance to the 2011 Grey Cup game when they became the first team in league history to overcome a 0-5 start to capture the championship.
The overwhelming success of the 2011 Grey Cup was certainly capped off with a big win for the home team, but there were plenty of other factors that contributed to the triumph of the game and the festival surrounding it.
For one, the stadium itself - BC Place - was a major selling point (the theme of the festival was "Raise the Roof") as the title game was not only its first major event since it hosted the opening and closing ceremonies at the 2010 Olympic Winter Games but was also the building's first major event since it underwent a major renovation following the Olympics that cost over half a billion dollars to add a retractable roof and other upgrades,
BC Place wasn't the only major venue during the 2011 Grey Cup festival that had a spotlight on it.
The Grey Cup committee also made extensive use of the Vancouver Convention Centre West - made famous during the 2010 Olympics as being the International Broadcast Center - placing an interactive fan exhibit inside that venue as well as hosting a number of parties and functions, including the CFL Awards there.
A potential 2014 Grey Cup Festival would almost certainly utilize both venues again - definitely BC Place as serves as the regular home of the Lions - but neither building would be viewed as being a significant part of the attraction for the festival.
The Vancouver Convention Centre, while still a building to marvel at, will have been opened for over five years by the time the 2014 Grey Cup rolls around. BC Place, meanwhile, seems to have lost some of its luster due to issues that cropped up in the months since the building reopened, including the roof leaking.
Beyond the venues being part of the draw in 2011, at the time the City of Vancouver also seemed to be yearning for another large-scale celebration if only to erase the memories of the Stanley Cup riot that had taken place just several months earlier and to showcase the city again in a positive light by proving it was capable of hosting a significant event of that magnitude.
It's hard to say whether there will be that desire to host a large-scale party, especially since it's a party that was only here three years ago.
Part of the Grey Cup festival appeal is it isn't a frequent occurrence which adds to its significance whenever the big game is awarded to a city even in a soon-to-be nine-team league.
Vancouver, which has hosted the Grey Cup game more than any other city outside Toronto had to wait six years after hosting the contest in 2005 before they got to do it again in 2011. If they were to be awarded the 2014 game, the three-year turnaround would be the shortest for a city in over two decades since Toronto hosted the 1989 and 1992 games, respectively.
Of course, there are very few practical reasons to suggest why Vancouver shouldn't get another crack at hosting the Grey Cup again in 2014 considering the city has the infrastructure, the track record of success, the financial support from the provincial government in the form of a $2.7 million inclusion in the budget for attracting a Grey Cup, and, last but not least, a highly competitive team that will once again be a top contender to make it to the Grey Cup game if not win it all.
If the 2014 Grey Cup festival ends up in Vancouver, there's little doubt it will be viewed as an overall success and will be a moneymaker for the city and the Lions.
Just don't expect it to be a party like 2011.
02/27 10:25:27 ET