Is this thing on?: CFL’s failure to announce Grey Cup halftime show casting shadow over postseason

Photo edit: 3DownNation

It’s one of the biggest questions currently dominating the conversation on CFL Twitter.

No, not the Riders bottoming out and missing the playoffs or the sudden rise of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. The Grey Cup halftime show.

More specifically, who exactly is going to be performing in just four weeks’ time at Mosaic Stadium in Regina?

Is anyone on this? Did they have someone lined up and they dropped out? Did they forget? Are the emails going to spam? Is the league just going to surprise us at halftime? Is Genius Sports crunching the numbers on who will have the biggest impact on ratings? Is the CFL even planning on going forward with the Grey Cup at all? Just about any of these things seem plausible at this point.

Not to make this about the CFL versus the NFL, but we already know who is performing at this year’s Super Bowl. Rihanna was unveiled as the headliner on September 25 and that game isn’t until February 12. The Grey Cup is allegedly scheduled for November 20, which is less than a month away.

Looking back at previous years, from 2016 through 2019 the CFL regularly announced the halftime act either in late August or early September. The last time the Grey Cup was in Regina, we learned who would be performing on September 1.

We are currently in the final few days of October.

In 2021, the CFL announced on November 12 that the Arkells would be the feature act but of course, last year’s Grey Cup was played in December due to the late start of the season. There were also constantly shifting public health regulations that had to be taken into account before anything was finalized.

In terms of the league calendar, we are now going to learn who — if anyone — will take the stage later than we did last year. It’s completely dumbfounding.

Yes, the game is already sold-out and that’s a good thing. But as we all know, these days it’s all about TV viewership and exposure.

More than ever, the CFL is competing for eyeballs. The Grey Cup used to easily be the most-viewed event on Canadian television every year. That’s no longer the case. Last year’s game didn’t even average three million viewers. The game used to draw at least four million every year but that is no longer assured.

Wouldn’t the league and TSN want to use the halftime show as a marketing tool for the game?

At this point, perhaps there’s only one option remaining — the Super Dogs.

There would be no complaints here if we were all stuck watching canine frisbee, but that’s unlikely to raise the league’s profile much. The CFL needs to get this issue figured out sooner rather than later to avoid further limiting the scope of this year’s Grey Cup.

Joel Gasson is a Regina-based sports writer, broadcaster and football fanatic. He is also a beer aficionado.