"It's halfway through the CIS football season and its website still isn't operating. And you wonder why people don't go to the games?"Simmons is right to a small point, which is pretty good by his standards. It is glaring Canadian Interuniversity Sport's website has a red-letter message saying the "new-look CIS site will be launched by the end of September." (Today is Oct. 4.)
This site's Rob Pettapiece has been all over this for a long time. It might not get attention when the diehards and devotees say it, but when the drive-by media opine, it gets attention.
Not having up-to-date boxscores readily available may be lumped in with the failure to properly market university athletics in this country. It does not take Don Draper to know that when you're selling a product, you're selling people an image. Coming off as amateur will lead to being treated as amateur.
It is post-hoc to link the public support for a league to its website, granted. There are many sociological reasons for why people follow the CFL and major junior hockey instead of their university equivalents, or why Old Media has been slow to realize they should be giving more attention to CIS basketball.
However, perhaps not coincidentally, major junior hockey has no issues with its website. There is live scoring from every game in all three leagues. Most of the provincial Junior A leagues (do not call it Tier II!) have made the same investment.
People and journalists do not have to go looking. All media is deadline-driven. Traditional media is also being run
That is kind of what is happening this year. A few schools such as Calgary, Western and Queen's, have live stats for home football games. Most leagues are using a program for football, which provides very detailed summaries of games, including drive charts and play-by-play, which is very helpful. (You have to hunt around for it with a couple conferences.) For hockey, three of four regional associations are using LeagueStat, which provides up-to-date summaries for men's and women's hockey. It needs to be 4-of-4. More and more schools are signing on with Streaming Sports Network Canada and other videocasters.
Really, of this should be addressed. A niche league needs to be strong on those margins. The bar is not set at the bare minimum, it is set at the maximum.
(A major piece of subtext is assuming CIS needs newspapers. It does not, really. With what is happening to newspapers, especially in mid-sized cities, so-called social media should be the focus for university sports. Some OUA markets are might lose their Monday print newspaper within the next 12-24 months. You would not put that past Pierre-Karl Péladeau. People are not going to wait until Tuesday afternoon to read about a game that was on Saturday.
Here are some of the schools Simmons presumably was referring to:
- Nipissing: Drew 3,693 and 3,374 to its hockey team's exhibition and pre-season openers.
- Montreal: Judging from the Radio-Canada feed, the stadium is pretty full today.
- Western: 9,217 for its homecoming football game.
- Laurier: Close to 10,000 for its homecoming.
- Saskatchewan: Sold out its first two games at Griffiths Stadium, which holds more than 6,000.
- Saint Mary's: 4,500 for a game vs. a non-traditional opponent, Sherbrooke.
- Guelph: Drew 8,750 for its game vs. Western, which was nationally televised.)