Published on November 27, 2015 8:21 PM by dbo.
CFL Commissioner Jeffrey Orridge presented his first State of the League today. It provided a first look at where Orridge plans on taking the CFL.
The presentation by the Commissioner to the media, followed by a question period, seemed longer than past years under Mark Cohon (full transcript). Orridge led with the announcement of a new marketing campaign “What We’re Made Of” and logo with the screening of a promotional video. After speaking about the campaign’s goals, he went on to address the current state of the league.
Orridge spoke about the game, addressing the increase in scoring the league attributes to the rule changes implemented. He also conceded that flags were up and committed to looking for the cause and finding ways to address what is not a good indicator for the game. Next was the impact of injuries, specifically to quarterbacks, and a pledge to look at additional ways quarterbacks can be protected and all players can be kept safe.
The key indicators of attendance and television ratings were disappointing. Attendance was flat, while television ratings were down to an average of 589,000. The Thursday Night Football experiment was deemed a success, with Thursday games garnering higher ratings than other days (television ratings excluding Thursday games were 534,000, so extrapolating, the Thursday game average was about 875,000 [CFLdb figures]).
There were many factors that may have contributed to this dip. The league feels scheduling will be addressed with the sale and relocation of the Toronto Argonauts to a different venue. Sponsorship was up, and Orridge has increased the exposure of the CFL around the world with new broadcast and digital streaming deals. The league also continues to be a community leader on many fronts, with initiatives at the league and team levels.
Questions covered many topics, with the media grilling the Commissioner on subjects ranging from the lack of a testing facility for the drug policy, accessibility of the teams to media, poaching coaches, concussion litigation, Grey Cup bids for Hamilton, increasing the import ratio, the website, the affect one-year contracts has on free agent numbers and therefore player turnover, implementing affirmative action at the coach and executive level in the CFL, moving the season forward, hiring of American officials and negotiation list transparency.
Things to note from earlier in the week: