Grey Cup gets title sponsor, but tradition is intact


The first big announcement from new CFL commissioner Jeffrey Orridge held the line on tradition. The Grey Cup now has a title sponsor, but chances are no one is going to refer to the Big Event by the new title.

The Grey Cup, presented by Shaw. That’s the first, and probably last time, members of the media will refer to it that way. The CFL broadcasts can certainly add the ‘presented by Shaw’ title, and it won’t be noticed too much.

It’s a good move. The CFL gets a partnership with a big telecommunications company, and it doesn’t get into a fight with media about adding the sponsors name when referring to it. If it was renamed the Shaw Cup, there would have been a revolt, and with good reason.

Sure, the Grey Cup got its name almost by accident, but it’s been called that for more than 100 years now. Changing the name would have been extremely counter-productive, and quite likely never even considered by the big heads at the CFL.

There are other parts of the deal. Shaw will partner with TSN on content called ‘Shaw Road to the Grey Cup,’ while they will also have their name on weekly awards. That’s great.

The announcement of a major press conference in Calgary stirred some speculation about what it might be. It was easy to put the pieces together and expect the CFL to award the Grey Cup back to Calgary. The reason this announcement was made is because Shaw calls Calgary home.

The presser drew some attention at the BMO Centre on the Stampede grounds, as it was held just hours before the big Game 4 between the Calgary Flames and Anaheim Ducks just next door at the Saddledome. Reigning Grey Cup MVP Bo Levi Mitchell of the Stampeders even showed up, and of course the Grey Cup was there.

Notice I didn’t call it the Scotiabank Saddledome. It’s taken years for media in Calgary to refer to the building by the new sponsor’s name. It’s the same thing in Regina, where some old-schoolers will still call it Taylor Field, regardless of how long it’s officially Mosaic Stadium.

If sponsors change, then it gets confusing.

Would you know where to go if someone told you to meet them at Levi’s Stadium? Or Coliseum? What about EverBank Field? Those are the home fields for the San Francisco 49ers, Oakland Raiders and Jacksonville Jaguars. (Actually had to look those up because I’ve never heard of them, or the latter two companies. Advertising works!)

Do you get excited for the TaxSlayer Bowl? It’s been played since 1946. It used to be called the Gator Bowl. “Hey, do you want to come over to the watch the TaxSlayer Bowl” is a thing no one will every say.

The CFL has avoided putting a sponsor name on their biggest and best brand. And for that they should be applauded.

Ian Busby

Ian Busby

Ian Busby has covered the Stampeders and the CFL since 2003, with eight years as a beat reporter. He is now a producer at Breakfast Television.
Ian Busby
Ian Busby
About Ian Busby (175 Articles)
Ian Busby has covered the Stampeders and the CFL since 2003, with eight years as a beat reporter. He is now a producer at Breakfast Television.

1 Comment on Grey Cup gets title sponsor, but tradition is intact

  1. Edward Leslie // May 10, 2015 at 3:12 pm //

    Hey, I’m glad that it’s not Rogers Communications that is sponsoring the Grey Cup. I can’t understand why that CFL-hating company is so petty. They barely eve mention the C.F.L. on their network. The Grey Cup presented by Shaw is fine though. I’m glad that they didn’t re-name it the “Shaw Grey Cup”. This gets the CFL a big name CANADIAN sponsor and helps the league financially. It’s a coup, especially for new Commissioner Jeffrey Orridge. I also don’t mind one or two unobtrusive corporate patches on CFL uniforms either, just don’t put ONLY the corporate logo on the front, like MLS does.

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