The field of Canadian University Athletics has shifted immensely for the future. Elite Canadian athletes have constantly felt the need to go south of the border in order to pursue their athletic dreams. Now more than ever, the governing body for University Sport in Canada has changed this sentiment. Introducing, the U Sports rebrand — the new name for Canadian Interuniversity Sport.
Over the past decade, prominent athletes have emerged from the CIS. Olympians like Kylie Masse rose to prominence after a spectacular performance at the Rio Olympics last summer. The swimmer isn’t a star at a big division one school in the USA though, she’s a student-athlete at the University of Toronto.
Players from University football teams are getting professional looks more than ever now. Not just from the CFL, but the NFL as well. Four CIS players drafted south of the border in the last seven years; Vaughan Martin, Laurent Duvarney-Tardiff, Akiem Hicks and most recently David Onemyata. The league has produced talent and the governing body is ready to take the next step.
U Sports Rebrand
Progress with Purpose
The goal of U Sports is to generate revenues in order to reinvest those funds in Canadian Athletics. This re-brand was done with the focus that will allow the organization to be seen more as a property like that of their Olympic Committee and other national sports federation counterparts. U Sports is working with their broadcasters in order to create something that not only university sports fans can be aware of but the whole general public.
“Our partners at TVA and Sportsnet are enthusiastic about this, we pitched this to them months ago and had them and our current corporate partners sign off, but they’ll tell us straight up that we need to generate awareness,” said CEO Graham Brown after the big reveal. “They’re setting thresholds and giving us metrics that we have to hit and that’s our goals.”
Big Game Focus
Part of the U Sports strategy will be utilizing a game of the week across the league with their partners TVA and Sportsnet. Just a few weeks ago the Panda Bowl was a massive success with 24,000 spectators in attendance for a marquee match-up between OUA leaders, the Carleton Ravens and the Ottawa Gee-Gees. U Sports hopes to build on these successes and build up all four conferences, 56 schools and 42 sports viewership in some way or another.
“We broadcast over 7,000 events, each year through digital media and that’s a great opportunity for us. Not every event will become the Panda Bowl and we’re not trying to change it all overnight. We’re building though, and those steps will make a huge difference in the future.”
The first chance for U Sports to show off their new brand will be during the nationally televised football games of the week, leading into the national semi-finals and the 52nd Vanier Cup in Hamilton on November 26th.