Skip to content

Riders CEO Reynolds hails Grey Cup week as 'outstanding'

Grey Cup Festival co-chair Craig Reynolds said the Festival exceeded their expectations.
Roughriders CEO Craig Reynolds meets the media after the end of the Grey Cup Festival in Regina.

REGINA - Saskatchewan Roughriders CEO Craig Reynolds was in a buoyant mood following the end of the 2022 Grey Cup Festival.

He called the week “outstanding” and said the Festival “exceeded our expectations.” 

Reynolds credited their volunteer planning committee and the 1200 volunteers who worked on the Festival.

“I heard it constantly from Festival goers how incredible was the hospitality that they showed,” said Reynolds. “It made for an excellent festival.”

He also credited the host organization committee for the job they did.

They do plan to do a debrief on what went well and what didn’t, but Reynolds said in speaking to Canadian Football League commissioner Randy Ambrosie that he said “this was a 10 out of 10”.

Reynolds was speaking to reporters Monday morning at the International Trade Centre, the site of Grey Cup Festival activities throughout the week. On Monday, crews were hard at work dismantling the Festival area and preparing to make room for the next big event at the venue: Agribition, next week.

The week of festivities at the Grey Cup was not immune to hiccups.

One notable issue on Grey Cup day itself was the number of empty seats noticed in the stadium for the game. 

The Grey Cup was a sellout, but there were a lot of seats still available on resale up to the game itself. 

“We had tremendous turnout, to be quite honest,” said Reynolds. “When you have a cold weather game like that, some people maybe not invested into the sport, they don’t spend as much time in their seats.” 

Reynolds didn’t have actual numbers to share but he said the no-show rate was similar to other events they had seen. He noted there were “hundreds of reasons” why someone might not go to the game, whether it be because of the cold or they weren’t interested in the two teams.

Another issue was the cold weather itself, with fans struggling to find areas in the stadium in order to warm up. 

Reynolds acknowledged some issues, noting there was some “congestion” around the washrooms. He also noted there had been warming stations that weren’t heavily used. There were a number of tents on the east side but they weren’t heavily utilized, and Reynolds said maybe they will communicate that more next time.

In general, people were on their best behavior throughout the Festival. Reynolds reported they did not have a single arrest all week, and there were no issues that police had to get involved in. 

There was one notable issue reported: a rumor that the vehicle carrying the Grey Cup was towed away on game day. 

Reynolds said “that was news to me.” To his knowledge, the Grey Cup was inside, “on schedule where it needed to be.” 

Beyond the game itself, the overall festival attendance “exceeded expectations,” said Reynolds. The cheer extravaganza on Saturday, for instance, was at capacity. Reynolds also said he was impressed by the youth rally in Saskatoon and the Highway 11 Cup run on Tuesday.

The Esports tournament at Brandt Centre was another highlight. “I think we exposed a number of people who might not have come to the festival otherwise to the Grey Cup and the Grey Cup Festival and that was what it was designed for.”

Reynolds also spoke highly of the drone show on Saturday, and reported that all the team party rooms were at capacity on Saturday night.

He said there was a “tremendously positive response” to having all the Festival events at the REAL District grounds under one roof.

“I think it speaks to our ability to host large scale events,” said Reynolds.

The close finish of the Grey Cup, with the Toronto Argonauts upsetting the Winnipeg Blue Bombers 24-23, was the “cherry on top,” said Reynolds.

“It was an instant classic the way it ended,” said Reynolds. “It was close throughout and a lot of drama. That’s what they’re hoping for in any championship game and we certainly got that yesterday.”

push icon
Be the first to read breaking stories. Enable push notifications on your device. Disable anytime.
No thanks