Football: Vanier fallout; status quo is not enough

Doing damage control for Canadian Interuniversity Sport this week would be a great project for some public relations students. That song from the fictional rocker Aldous Snow in the movie Forgetting Sarah Marshall -- "We Gotta Do Something" -- is hard to purge from one's head today.

Jeff Blair teed off in his debut as a general sports columnist in Monday's editions of The Globe & Mail:
"There is no virtue in holding the Vanier Cup as a stand-alone event, as was shown by Saturday's crowd of 13,873 of Ivor Wynne Stadium. Last year's Vanier Cup surely felt as if it were at home on the Friday before the Grey Cup at the Rogers Centre."
Waterloo, Ont., columnist Al Coates ties the lack of a host to the Laval problem, quote-unquote:
"...the imbalance and disparity remain no matter the circumstance. The fans, as always, will vote with their feet and their wallets -- the announced Ivor Wynne crowd of 13,873 was one of the smallest Vanier Cup crowds in the past two decades, which perhaps tells you all you need to know."
Sun Media's Morris Dalla Costa
brings forth some ideas for how to get more fans out to the game.

"The exact number of tickets sold for the game at Ivor Wynne Stadium for the national university championship was 13,873. That's about 4,700 more than attend a regular-season, run-of-the-mill, Friday night, little-at-stake London Knights game at the John Labatt Centre.

"You could call it embarrassing, but what's the point?"
The status quo is not enough. Quebec City might be the place to go for one year, but after that, maybe it's time to stop dancing around the Obvious Pole and partner up with the Grey Cup. The audience is only so large for Canadian football. They might as well be together.

Vanier Cup deserving of better (Morris Dalla Costa, Sun Media)
Canadian university football has a real hot potato on its hands (Al Coates, Kitchener-Waterloo Record)
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  1. I couldn't agree more. The game was phenomenal to watch at Rogers Centre and gave it a really big-time feel.

    Unfortunately, the same can't be said for Ivor Wynne, not with that sort of crowd. Exposure should be what CIS is after, even if the CFL gets to dictate the terms.

  2. Also agreed. The Vanier and the Grey Cup are a great pairing, and it also means that media outlets don't have to split their football-knowledgeable staff (usually limited in Canada anyway) between the two events. They can also cover two significant events at not a high cost, which means that you might see more newspapers and TV and radio stations sending staff to the Vanier.

  3. Something really must be done about the glaring (and growing) disparity in CIS ball.

    Face it, structurally Laval is a semi-pro team. The fact they compete with Acadia, Mount Allison, Bishop's, Guelph...come to think of it, the fact they compete in the CIS at all is absurd.

    They win with wretched quarterbacking ('04) in rebuilding years ('06)...they just win period because of the reasons we're all aware of.

    To me, Laval playing one competitive regular-season game and one competitive playoff game (in the Q finals at that) smacks of a league with real problems.

    Luckily, the progressive, competent leadership in the CIS has an impressive track record of dealing with problems of this magnitude.

  4. More of the same from RDS, saying Laval's dominance raises questions about the health of the league because if we know in advance who's going to win, people lose interest.

    In terms of the Vanier, though, is attendance related to the dominance of the teams involved? If Calgary beat Laval, would more or fewer fans have come to Hamilton this weekend?

    (Another agreement here on the Grey-Vanier pairing, too.)