The last time the CFL called for a news conference for a “major announcement,” it was a dud. The league apparently felt that announcing a new sponsor was something that everyone would be interested in.
This time around, the league pulled out the words “major announcement” for an event in Regina on Tuesday. Naturally, some people were skeptical about how big this announcement would actually be while others mused at the thought of the 2018 Grey Cup coming to Regina. What was actually announced fell somewhere in the middle.
In March 2017, the league will hold the first ever CFL Week in Regina. The week includes a bunch of different things, including the combine, prospect showcases, the Canadian Football Hall of Fame inductees announcement, a fan expo, media events, league meetings and more.
For years, the league has suffered from a lack of substantial interest and buzz from December until the opening of the regular season in late June or early July, even though many important dates like free-agency and the draft falling in between. With CFL Week, the league has taken many offseason activities and put them in once place at one time, opening the doors to fans and media at the same time in hopes of creating some excitement during the league’s down time.
In the past, things like the TSN shoot happened away from the much of the media and fans. If you’re going to bring all the league’s best players into one place at one time, why not make an event of it? That’s what the league is doing with their fan expo which will include meet-and-greets with players. The CFL loves to talk about how they are the most accessible league in sports. Fact is, over the last decade or so, the accessibility has been shrinking. An offseason event is the perfect time to let fans mingle with players and make a real connection, which should help the league grow.
The league is also making prospects an important part of the week. Another good move as the casual fan simply isn’t aware of who could be the next generation of great Canadian CFL players. Taking the combine to the people and putting those players on display in a showcase will hopefully open fans eyes to the talent currently brewing in USports.
It makes perfect since for the very first CFL Week to be held in Regina as Saskatchewan is as football mad as they come in Canada. It’s important for such an event to get off to a good start so fans in other markets can get excited about it coming to their community in the future.
The CFL has set the table for a great fan event, now it’s up to the fans to respond and make this something to look forward to every year.