The CFL schedule release date is a mystery to most CFL fans who are waiting patiently for it to come out, so that they can plan their summer vacations on their team’s bye weeks. Why hasn’t it been released yet? When will it be available to the public? Nobody knows, and this is leaving fans in the dark.
Under the Mark Cohon regime, the league was transparent. The fans and the league were one when it came to marketing products or releasing the schedule, but now with commissioner Jeffrey Orridge on the throne, he has built an opaque wall surrounding the league offices. While the masterminds are building the league schedule, Orridge is making sure none of the plans leak out into the public before the CFL schedule release.
Last year, the CFL schedule release was on Friday, February 13. The CFL had to deal with even more kinks in the schedule with the FIFA Women’s World Cup being played across the country, and the Pan-Am Games being held in Southern Ontario. The B.C. Lions, Ottawa Redblacks, Winnipeg Blue Bombers, Hamilton Tiger-Cats and the Edmonton Eskimos loaned out their home stadiums during the summer, while the Toronto Argonauts were displaced from the Rogers Center for all but five home games.
This year, with the Argonauts’ move into a permanent home at BMO Field, there are no such stadium conflicts, unless the 12 summer and fall home games of the Boatmen’s new roommate, Toronto FC, are taken into consideration. There is one minor broadcasting issue, with TSN also broadcasting the UEFA European Championship, from June 10th to July 10th. This interferes with the first two weeks of the CFL schedule, but by the time the season starts, the tournament will be well into the knockout phase, with few games broadcasted on TSN’s five channels. The league and TSN cannot use that as an excuse to the delay in the CFL schedule release.
Is the league employing a new marketing scheme for the CFL schedule release? What are they trying to accomplish with their new “marketing scheme”? Maybe they will release the weekly schedules, bit-by-bit throughout the winter and spring. Most fans do not like the wait, and diehards followers even plan their summer vacations around the league schedule. This wait is killing them. Whatever Orridge and the marketing team is up to, they need to get the CFL schedule release a date soon.
Will There Be New Jerseys?
Not only is the league taking its time with the CFL schedule release, but they are keeping the new jersey contract a secret to most fans. In September, the CFL sent out a press release, officially announcing that Adidas will become the official outfitter of the league and all its nine teams. This was highly speculated since Adidas owns Reebok, and the latter company now wants to focus on personal clothing and their Crossfit brand.
Within a few years, Adidas will dominate the sports jersey landscape, but before they embark on world domination à-la-Stewie Griffin, Adidas and the league must get CFL fans hyped up about the alleged new jerseys that will be worn this summer.
Why are they the “alleged” new jerseys? The CFL simply stated that all apparel will be sponsored by the famous three-striped company, and didn’t mention anything about jerseys. Last Word on Sports received through a good source that some jerseys will be slightly redesigned, and passed off as new uniforms set to hit the shelves for CFL fans who are ready to empty their wallets.
Each team released redesigned Reebok jerseys in 2012, and four years later, it would not make sense to send another batch of new designs to retailers across the country. In 2014, Reebok, with the help of Adidas, came up with the polarizing Signature Series, as a way of having an alternate jersey for every team.
Fans emptied their wallets for these jerseys, just two years after buying a set of jerseys. Since Adidas owns Reebok, they can just change the logo on the current jerseys, and keep the hard-working, middle-class fans happy. But as a league with relatively small revenue, the smart option would to be keep refilling the shelves with all-new products. The debate between can continue until Winnipeg wins a Grey Cup.
Regardless of what the plan is for the league, whether it be for the CFL schedule release, or for the new jerseys, the masterminds at the head offices need to be more transparent. The CFL is known for its ability to interact with its fans, and right now, all of that linking communication is just gone.
Fans can only wait and see when they can make summer plans, or save up for that jersey that they want.