The majority of professional sporting leagues are known to have a Championship game or competition series of sorts that normally takes place towards the culmination of the post-season. In the NBA, this is called the ‘Finals’, in MLB it’s the ‘World Series, and in the NFL it’s the ‘Super Bowl’. These are the games that see the top two franchises from the year go head-to-head in one (or several) heated matchup(s) where only the best comes out on top.
When it comes to professional sports in Canada, there is one event that mirrors those mentioned above in level of intensity: the annual Grey Cup. This game is the Championship match of the CFL, Canada’s top tier football league which was founded in Montreal in 1985.
In this article you will learn all you need to know about the highly anticipated game. Everything from its date and time, top contenders, where to watch on television, and much more will be covered here, so make sure to read carefully in order to be prepared for all the live gridiron action!
When and Where is this Year’s Championship?
The CFL games kicked off the first week of August, when the Blue Bombers took on the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in a repeat match of the 2019 Championship. Fast forward a few months and the league is approaching Week 12 of 16, which means the playoffs are rearing their head and will be here before fans know it. The Division Semi-Finals will take place in late November, with the Division finals following the first week of December. After this game, fans will know who will be featured in the Grey Cup, which is set for Sunday, December 12th. Since the CFL did not run in 2020, fans are looking forward to this Championship game even more than previous years.
Calgary hosted the Grey Cup in 2019 at McMahon Stadium. This year, the venue for the prestigious game has been awarded to Hamilton’s Tim Hortons field in the province of Ontario. This is exciting for Hamilton residents, as their stadium was chosen out of a list of other bidding competitors. Although Tim Horton has been the playing field of 11 total Grey Cups, this will be the first since the multi-purpose stadium’s recent renovation.
Who are the Top Contenders?
Now that you know when the game is scheduled, it’s time to take a look at which teams we’re most likely to see on Hamilton’s green turf come December.Although the CFL is much smaller than the NFL, with only nine teams, fans in the Great White North are dedicated and loyal to football. And just like sports betting is popular in the U.S., with providers offering their customers free bets and bonuses in certain states, Canadian residents also enjoy full regulated and legal virtual betting in different provinces.
Proper knowledge of each franchise’s current standings is crucial to have before placing bets on the outcome of games. So, here are the top contenders of the moment for the 2021 Grey Cup:
Winnipeg Blue Bombers
Winnipeg fans will never forget the 2019 Grey Cup, the time when the Blue Bombers defeated Hamilton 33-12 at McMahon. With a nail-tight defense already showing itself off this year, it’s no surprise that the Bombers are in another great position for a Championship spot in 2021. Their standing in the West Division speaks for itself, as they have won a whopping nine out of ten games so far and show no signs of slowing down anytime soon. If they secure a back-to-back victory in December, it will be the team’s 12th Grey Cup win in franchise history.
There’s no doubt that the Tiger-Cats would like to have a revenge match against Winnipeg this season, after being beaten last time around in the most important game in Canadian football. Although Hamilton is currently third in the East division, their dominant performance in Week 8 against the Ottawa Redblacks shows what they are capable of delivering when at their best. Not to mention the Grey Cup is scheduled to take place at their home field with a full house of fans, so this will give them the motivation to push forwards.
Although the Roughriders have only won four Grey Cups since their team’s founding, they are looking good this year, sitting right behind the Bombers in the West Division. The Riders won all three of their first scheduled games, and crushed Hamilton 30-8 in Week 2, proving they are serious contenders for the Championship. QB Cody Fajardo is a passing yards leader with an extremely strong arm who can get some serious points on the board.
Last but not least, the Montreal Alouettes have earned a spot here due to them leading their division right behind the Toronto Argonauts. They recently managed to come out on top against the Tiger-Cats in a nail-biting match that went into overtime and ended with a score of 20-23. Their resilience on the field definitely makes them ones to watch in the East. They are undoubtedly the Argos biggest competition, and a reasonable outside bet to be Championship contenders.
How to Watch the Grey Cup from Canada and the U.S.
If you are a Canadian resident and also a big football fan, the Grey Cup festival is surely an important date on your calendar. This festival exists to celebrate Canada’s biggest sporting event and sees the entire host city (this year Hamilton) organize various parties and concerts in the days leading up to the Grey Cup. There is even a parade that runs through the city’s streets, with different types of musical performances. All the exciting festivities begin on November 20th at McMahon Stadium.
If you can’t make it to Hamilton to watch the Grey Cup live, there are still many ways to watch from home on television and online. The big game will be broadcasted in Canada on the TSN network. For fans tuning in from outside the Great White North, ESPN and ESPN+ are showing the game for those subscribed to their networks. Utilizing a live stream service like AT&T Now is also an option, and allows fans to watch from a laptop, mobile, or even tablet device.
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