Movember Scores With The Packers: The annual Movember awareness push, which encourages men from around the world to grow mustaches in support of prostate and testicular cancer awareness, became an unintentional victim of the NHL Lockout this years, as several NHL teams who were usually front and center in support of the cause (the Capitals the Ducks were two key members) never made it to the ice, and the ample nightly media attention vanished in a cloud of silence. It also didn’t help that several MLS teams who wanted to support the cause either didn’t make the playoffs, or in the case of the New York Red Bulls, went out early.
Now Movember is not athlete driven. Thousands of men and businesses and celebrities like Stan Lee have embraced the cause, but the extra pop from athletes who have a natural media draw always helps. So into the void stepped the Green Bay Packers, who played the New York Giants on Sunday night. Several Packers, most notably Aaron Rodgers, donned a ‘stache to support the cause, which probably brought as much attention to the event as any series of NHL games could. Obviously the Packers drubbing by the Giants wasn’t what Green bay had planned, but the exposure for a national TV audience and the social world reacting was a much needed boost for a cause that had become collateral damage because of the hockey labor situation.
CFL SCORES: The darkest days for the Canadian Football League seem to be behind them as the league closed out its centennial season Sunday in Toronto. Why? Unlike other football-specific properties indoor and out which have sought to be NFL like or light, the CFL has made the smart move to cultivate and re-engage its core and get those who follow or have followed to again embrace their uniquely nuanced version of football. Under Commissioner Mark Cohon, the CFL looks to have gone in for the long haul to embrace and grow its own traditions, while tackling issues like appropriate stadium size, revenue sharing and drug testing. They have also found a good home outside of Canada on the NBC Sports Network, which gave the league a consistent window each week and did not treat the broadcasts as an afterthought.
Couple that with new sponsors (although having the gambling site Bodog emblazoned across the center of the field may be a bit of a risk), elevated play and an ever-improving digital program and the CFL could have re-found the niche that made it so unique and worthwhile during its glory days. Now it didn’t hurt that during its centennial season the NHL lockout created a void of coverage and casual fan interest, and the CFL took advantage of the dearth of hockey coverage by finding new ways to embrace the fan city by city. The best example was in Toronto for Sunday’s Grey Cup, when the league gave fans the chance to take turns carrying the actual Grey Cup from the Univ. of Toronto’s Varsity Stadium to Rogers Centre. The parade gave thousands the chance to embrace the trophy along the way, a rare one on one encounter for any supporter, and perhaps a new tradition for sport. Factor in the Cavalcade of Lights and the Santa parade and the CFL created a vibrant new platform that had something for everyone as they celebrated the end of a solid football season on and off the field.
Yes the league still has a ways to go overall, but it has made strong movement by embracing its roots and then going after the casual fan, a concept many sports often forget about when trying to expand. Well done movement North of the Border