Grey Cup organizers confident game will approach sellout

Grey Cup Festival organizers say they aren't worried Sunday's game has yet to sell out.

Festival chair Mike Franco says they saw a surge of 500 tickets sold once the two teams — Hamilton and Winnipeg — were determined on the weekend.

Franco says more than 30,000 tickets to the CFL championship (6 p.m. ET) at Calgary's McMahon Stadium have been sold so far, and he's confident the rest will soon be snapped up as the game draws closer.

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"We've got two teams in this Grey Cup that haven't won in a while. So there is a fan base that is really excited and passionate, and I think that's gonna be contagious," he told the CBC. "And Calgarians are going to be onside with that, plus their local markets are going to be moving. … I think we are in a real good position to get where we want to be."

Organizers say they have been working for more than a year and a half to prepare for the five-day festival. 

"We are following the trend of all the other Grey Cups. … I think Edmonton sold out on the last day," Franco said. "And so we are trending well."

Meanwhile, there are 50 special tickets that won't be sold. They're going to kids who would not be likely to attend the Grey Cup. The tickets were acquired through a charity partnership between the Alberta government, the CFL and the Calgary Stampeders. The kids were chosen by organizations that support vulnerable youth in Alberta.

"For these youth, going to the Grey Cup in their own city is a big deal," said Jeff Gray, executive director of Cornerstone Youth Centre, one of the organizations involved.

"Meeting the players is a big deal. Most importantly, they learn that someone believes in them. That's a big deal."

The Grey Cup's arrival in Calgary on Tuesday was marked by a procession along Stephen Avenue with the Regimental Pipes and Drums of The Calgary Highlanders and the Lord Strathcona's Horse (Royal Canadians) Ceremonial Mounted Troop.

This will be the fifth time the Grey Cup has been held in Calgary. The city is rolling out the red carpet with more than 40 events to entertain the expected crowd, from the trophy parade to free CTrain rides for ticket holders.

The city and Grey Cup organizers estimate the event will bring $80 million to the city.

"This week, 30,000 visitors are going to roll into town for the 2019 Grey Cup," said Mayor Naheed Nenshi in a news release. "This is going to be the biggest party in Canada. We're all excited to  showcase everything Calgary has to offer."

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