Were you one of the ten million Canadians that tuned into Grey Cup 104?
The exciting match-up between the Ottawa Redblacks and the Calgary Stampeders drew in record numbers of viewers including 5.7 million of us during overtime to watch Henry Burris and the Redblacks defeat Bo Levi Mitchell and the Stampeders 39-33.
The Grey Cup Festival is four days long and attracts thousands of fans from across the country. This year’s host city – Toronto – saw multiple events over the three days putting Torontonians and visitors to the city into the Grey Cup spirit.
Athabasca University is an advertiser with the CFL, elevating the awareness of the official partnership the university has with the Canadian Football League Players’ Association (CFLPA). AU is the education partner and works with the CFLPA and player reps to assist active CFL players to continue their studies at AU if they’ve not yet completed their degree or post-secondary education.
Nearly all CFL players have university educations, but many are drafted prior to completing their university degree and are a few courses short. During the off-season, players enrol in courses at AU to fulfill their course requirements and earn their degree.
At the Grey Cup festival, AU has a booth next to the CFLPA autograph booth. The players are huge draws and we get a lot of opportunity to share our partnership details with the fans. This year, postcards and footballs were handed out, encouraging fans to also consider AU as their choice for their degree.
CFLPA Youth Football Camp
In addition to having the booth at the Festival, AU was a main sponsor of the CFLPA youth football camp. The camp, held at Varsity Field at the University of Toronto, attracted over 100 young people from around the GTA. More than 20 active players from the CFL coached the kids through a football practice. The players also stressed the importance of education and keeping up with their studies and to be life long learners, thanking AU as the sponsor in the process. The youth then lined up to have their picture taken with the Grey Cup. As you can see in the picture, the Grey Cup is filled with the AU footballs!
Grey Cup Exhibition
Game day was also an exciting day for AU at the Grey Cup. As an advertiser with the CFL, AU was provided prime space at the pre-game exhibition at BMO field. Nearly 25,000 fans passed our booth on their way into the game. Thousands of people stopped by to chat with us about our institution. Many grabbed a football (the most sought after item there it seemed) and a
postcard describing our programs.
Many let us know they had seen our ads in previous week’s games in Hamilton, Ottawa, Calgary and Vancouver and were now considering which course they’d like to take. Alumni and current AU students stopped by to chat with us as well!
Grey Cup 104
Athabasca University also had a strong in-game presence at the Grey Cup. If you were watching the game, you might have seen our LED screens on TV. In fact, you can catch a key moment of the game on TSN, ESPN and social media channels where our AU signage is clearly visible during the play.
Late in the 4th quarter, quarterback Bo-Levi Mitchell threw an interception that nearly sealed the game for the Redblacks. It was an incredible moment many are still talking about.
In the third quarter, AU did a course giveaway live from the football field and a 20 second videoboard feature was shown to all 33,000 in attendance. The course giveaway our fifth, with four course giveaways done at every playoff game earlier in November. Winners have already enroled and are now AU students!
AU will continue to work closely with the CFLPA and a few players have already been in
contact with us ready to start their courses January 1! AU will also continue to promote the CFLPA partnership and work with the CFL to raise even more awareness about AU and the flexibility our institution offers not only to athletes but to the fans of the game who appreciate the opportunity to enrol in AU and have time for their life and their education.
Grey Cup 105 will be in Ottawa, ON next year, capping off a year-long celebration in the Capital City for Canada’s 150th birthday and we hope to see you there!