Sport Tourism Canada study highlights the impressive impacts of the CFL championship in the East Division’s smallest market

The 110th Grey Cup (Photo credit: Tiffany Luke/CFL.ca)
The 110th Grey Cup (Photo credit: Tiffany Luke/CFL.ca)

HAMILTON (March 12, 2024) – The 110th Grey Cup and the 2023 Grey Cup Festival generated over $73.5 million in total economic activity in Canada according to a study by Sport Tourism Canada (STC). After accounting for initial expenditures, the Canadian Football League’s (CFL) championship contest generated a net economic impact (GDP) of $41.9 million, including $35.4 million for the province of Ontario and $29.2 million for the City of Hamilton.

The total reported attendance over the six-day festival and at the championship game was 223,216. The 33,835 out-of-town guests who visited the region averaged 3.4 days in the host city and generated approximately $20.8 million in visitor spending.

The 2023 Grey Cup Festival initiated the largest regionalization in Grey Cup history with 42 events in the City of Hamilton and the surrounding region, including the CFL Awards in Niagara Falls. The Built in the Hammer Grey Cup Music Festival headlined by country music megastar Carrie Underwood and reggae icon Shaggy also included 45 local artists and bands, drawing from the region’s diverse and eclectic music scene. The Festival’s family-friendly fare was highlighted by community partnerships with a trio of long-standing Hamilton traditions: the Around the Bay Race marathon, Supercrawl – the City’s music and arts festival, and the fan favourite Santa Claus Parade.

The study was commissioned by the Hamilton Tiger-Cats and the CFL with STC’s economic impact team managing the surveying and data collection process. The team used the STEAMPRO economic impact assessment model to produce a detailed report highlighting total output, GDP, wages and salaries, employment, taxes and more.

The complete Economic Impact Assessment by Sport Tourism Canada can be found here.

For the second year in a row, the Grey Cup and the Grey Cup Festival have been named a finalist for the Sport Tourism Canada PRESTIGE Awards in the category of Canadian Sport Event of the Year with a budget greater than $1 million.


  • $61.5 million in overall economic activity within the province of Ontario
  • 310 local jobs were supported by the event, resulting in $18.4 million in wages and salaries for members of the Hamilton community and the surrounding region
  • 64 per cent of the 1,151 surveyed attendees indicated that the Grey Cup was their sole reason for visiting Hamilton
  • 42 per cent of attendees traveled to Hamilton from outside of Ontario


  • One of the biggest television events in Canada in 2023 with 8.9 million Canadians tuning in for part of the Grey Cup on TSN and RDS – an increase of nine per cent over last year
  • 800 volunteers who supported in the planning and delivery of Grey Cup Week
  • 245 accredited media members provided coverage during the Grey Cup championship, Grey Cup Week and the Grey Cup Festival
  • Approximately 11,400 editorial mentions from November 11-20 during Grey Cup Week, reaching a total of 6.5 billion people and resulting in a total Advertising Value Equivalency of US$60.1 million
  • Year-over-year, interactions across all CFL social media channels increased by an average of 35 per cent per post during Grey Cup Week
  • Higher consumption of CFL digital content, including increases in total YouTube views (+50 per cent), views per video (+45 per cent) and CFL.ca page views (+40 per cent) as compared to the 109th Grey Cup


“The 110th Grey Cup in Hamilton and the 2023 Grey Cup Festival set a new standard of excellence for how Canada’s biggest football game should be delivered. These numbers show that regionalizing the festivities not only supported local economies in both Hamilton and the Niagara region, but they also offered a better experience for fans who travelled from all across Canada."
Neil Lumsden, Ontario Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport

"We’re all about football in Hamilton! We were thrilled to welcome visitors from across Canada to the 110th Grey Cup and 2023 Grey Cup Festival. This unforgettable week wasn’t just about touchdowns, but also about celebrating our community spirit and the unifying force of sport. The festivities supported local jobs and businesses and boosted tourism, which contributed positively to Hamilton’s economy. With our long and proud football history, it was an honour for Hamilton to host one of Canada’s biggest sporting events."
Andrea Horwath, Mayor of Hamilton

“Throughout Grey Cup Week and, of course, our championship game, I had the privilege of speaking with fans, families, alumni, players, out-of-town visitors, Hamiltonians and community leaders from across the region. The results of this study echo everything I heard during that remarkable week in November – that this was a truly special and unforgettable celebration of our great game. I applaud our tremendous event organizers and staff, and especially the many volunteers, for all their incredible work in creating an event that mirrored the unbelievable passion and pride that our country has for Canadian football.”
Randy Ambrosie, Commissioner, CFL

“The 2023 Grey Cup Festival was a first-of-its-kind regional event that also integrated some of Hamilton’s favourite annual traditions into the six days, including the Santa Claus Parade, Around the Bay Road Race and Supercrawl—which was the inspiration for the outstanding Built in the Hammer Grey Cup Music Festival. None of this would have been possible without the dedication of our fans, the hard work of our staff and volunteers and the support from our partners. We specifically want to thank Mayor Horwath and Minister Lumsden for their part in bringing this bold vision to life and helping deliver a world-class event in the city of Hamilton and the Niagara Region.”
Matt Afinec, President & COO, Business Operations, Hamilton Sports Group

Lucas Barrett

Associate Vice-President, Communications & Public Affairs, Canadian Football League

Brandon Tretter

Manager, Communications & Media Relations, Hamilton Tiger-Cats Football Club

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