Celebration of Football

Argos president and CEO Keith Pelley poses with the Grey Cup during a news conference to announce...

Argos president and CEO Keith Pelley poses with the Grey Cup during a news conference to announce that the 2007 game, and the Vanier Cup, will be played at the Rogers Centre. (Toronto Sun/Dave Abel)

PERRY LEFKO -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 8:33 AM ET

The Argos are hoping Torontonians are up for the Cup. Actually, make that Cups.

Owners Howard Sokolowski and David Cynamon and president Keith Pelley officially announced the team's plans to play host to the Grey Cup in 2007, prefacing it two days beforehand with the Vanier Cup -- the championship game for Canadian university football. The two games never have been played in the same city during the same week.

The Argos also hope to stage the annual Metro Bowl for high school football and possibly the world junior football championship involving teams from Canada, the U.S., Mexico and Japan.

The festival is being billed as a Celebration of Football, and it's an ambitious undertaking, particularly the task of convincing Torontonians to support the Grey Cup. In 1992, the most-recent time the Grey Cup was played in Toronto, the Argos weren't in the game and Torontonians' interest was lukewarm.

"They didn't embrace it enough 15 years ago, but I think we're a few steps ahead of 15 years ago," Cynamon said. "I think by '07 we'll be a few more steps ahead, so my prediction is they will embrace it. And we expect it, otherwise we wouldn't have taken it on.

"I think we're making strides to get there and by '07 it's going to be the most popular day of the year."

Argos head coach Pinball Clemons made a passionate plea for Torontonians to embrace the Grey Cup.

"The rest of the country says this is the biggest event that happens in our country on a yearly basis," he said. "Now Toronto, it's up to you to let the rest of the country know how important they are to you. I want to encourage the city of Toronto to put on a show of a lifetime. Grey Cup 2007 is going to be the greatest show on turf -- we'll bank on that."

Marg McGregor, the chief operating officer of Canadian Interuniversity Sport, said the Grey Cup can help the Vanier Cup. Anyone purchasing a $229 lower-bowl ticket will receive free admission to the Vanier Cup.

"There will be lots of football fans in town for the Grey Cup and we think they'll get exposed to university sport and the Vanier Cup and they'll be won over by what they see and impressed by the calibre of university sports," McGregor said. "The upsides far outweighed the risks of us getting lost in the shuffle.

Tickets for the Grey Cup start as low as $79 in some parts of the upper bowl level. The top ticket price at this point is $279, not including taxes, but the price for the optimum seats in the 200 level has not been established.


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