Football: Vanier and Grey, together in Vancouver in '11

TSN's Dave Naylor has the scoop:

Next season's Vanier Cup will be played at Vancouver's renovated B.C. Place Stadium, one day before the Grey Cup game is played on the same site.

An announcement is expected Monday about the Canadian university championship game being promoted as part of the overall Grey Cup festival.

Although a firm date for the Vanier Cup has not been established next year, it is likely to be played on the Friday night and not the Saturday.

After the 2008 Vanier Cup--held in Hamilton the day before the Grey Cup in Montreal--had disappointing attendance, Neate Sager said it was time to "stop dancing around the Obvious Pole" and put the two events together. James Mirtle subsequently agreed, so it only took two years for the higher-ups to listen to this site's founders.

(That last part was tongue-in-cheek.)

This is pretty obviously a good decision, for the reasons mentioned in Neate's linked post and the comments following it. If we spend some time in the wayback machine, we see that the 2007 Vanier Cup (same city and weekend as the Grey Cup) had a "pretty packed house" in terms of media coverage, per James' game-day observations. Which is exactly what you'd expect.

Would putting the games together increase fan attendance at the Vanier, though? That depends on how many football fans would go to both games, I suppose, and others can speak more to Vancouver's appetite for Canadian football. (Like the Vanier Cup game itself, I've rarely been seen outside of Ontario and Quebec.)
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  1. Tying the Vanier to the largest stage for the sport in Canada: good.

    Putting the Vanier in a large media market: good

    Putting the Vanier in a world class facility: good

    Putting the Vanier in the worst major market in Canada for University Football: not good

  2. I do like the concept of having the two in the same venue, but if it became a hard and fast rule, it would limit the Vanier Cup to CFL markets only. Laval would be shutout, as would the East coast. Even though Moncton doesn't have a CIS football team, they have a new stadium and Mt. A isn't too far down the road.

    Also, the 2007 game had the advantage of having Winnipeg in the Grey Cup and Manitoba in the Vanier Cup, so there was a natural crossover fan base.

    So pairing them up is a good idea most of the time, but not necessarily all the time.