After a disappointing showing at the SkyDome gate last year, the 2003 Vanier Cup committee has vowed to make changes. For this, the 39th Vanier Cup, Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) is working hard along with NFL Canada to try to make the championship game more about football, and not just about the two competing universities.

In order to attract more spectators to the event, the Vanier Cup has recently announced various promotions. There is a great package available to fans outside of the Toronto area, or for those that are eager to party the night away. The Vanier Cup has secured 1,000 hotels rooms in the GTA, and is selling them with tickest to boththe game and a follow-up concert by a “surprise” Canadian artist, and all for $99. The goal of this promotion is to make the game available and enticing to a wider section of football fans.

To sweeten the deal, this year’s promotional push also includes the “Vanier Cup VIA Rail Party Train.” Two trains will leave from both Quebec City and Windsor on the morning of the game, and will be picking up passengers on the way to downtown Toronto. Train ticket, game ticket, concert ticket, and hotel room can be had for a mere $169.

All of this adds up to some great savings for football fans. But, will the public be taking advantage of these deals? Michel Bélanger, CIS communications officer, believes that with a little more effort, these changes will in fact increase attendance. “The CIS and Vanier Cup are making great strides in making this a week long event…but they are just not there yet. We are always looking to improve this event, and we are taking the steps in the right direction.”

Along with the various ticket packages, there will also be promotional tours around various universities. In 2006, Saskatchewan will play host to the Vanier Cup. This will be the first time the Cup will ever be played out of Toronto, which may prove to be a welcome change. Football is a hard sell in Toronto these days, and for this year’s event the Vanier Cup committee is keeping its fingers crossed that an OUA team makes the final. Despite the great deals, they will rely heavily on local support to boost the dismal attendance numbers of previous years.

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