A few more thoughts:
- It seems that all the representatives of Guelph, both the city and the university, are 100% supportive of the Ticats relocation for 2013. Either that, or they are doing a very good job faking it. And if the Ticats didn’t initially consider Guelph their #1 destination for relocation, they clearly have put that behind them.
- The event was a bit of a lovefest with both sides emphasizing how much they liked and respected each other. UofG VP Brenda Whiteside said that after her first meeting with the Ticat brass she informed President Alastair Summerlee that “… we haven’t even talked details but I can tell you we can make this work”. Ticat President Scott Mitchell emphasized that this was a partnership and they had found a “spirit of cooperation” from the beginning. I had to think that was something they hadn’t found in some of their earlier discussions with other parties.
- The entire launch event was masterfully organized by the Ticats. It came off without a hitch. Quite amazing how much more staff and resourcs they have than the OUA, CIS or their member schools. It reinforced for me, my belief that CIS schools really ought to be looking to the ranks of professional sports management people for their future athletic directors and top marketing people.
- No one mentioned it but I couldn’t help but think that none of this would have been possible if not for the anonymous donations that financed the stadium renovations. I have my doubts that the CFL would have been as interested in using the old grass field as the new turf one. The national television exposure is far more valuable because of the huge Gryphon logo at centre field and the red & black checkerboard endzones. Those two things in particular will have an immeasurable effect on helping to brand the Gryphon football program. The leadership of Head Coach Stu Lang and the support of President Summerlee were also invaluable.
- And the Ticats could not have played a single night game at Alumni without the new lighting system. As recently as ten days ago an Edmonton Journal story suggested that Alumni Stadium’s lighting would not meet the standards required for high definition broadcasts of night games. But we quickly learned that that was not the case. The Tiger-Cats will play two Saturday night games at Alumni.
The design of the expanded stadium for 2013 looks great. And it offers the University of Guelph a tremendous opportunity. This season offers a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to the Athletic Department. The increased seating capacity will allow the UofG to set an all-time attendance record and produce record revenues. Selling additional Homecoming tickets alone should bring in an additional $100,000 from ticket sales, plus the concession and souvenir sales. I hope the marketing people are already working on that.
- I spoke with several of the Gryphon football coaches who were in attendance. They were excited about the benefits that will accrue to the program both this season and in the future. But it was hard to tell whether they were more excited about those benefits or some of the continuing good news they are receiving on the recruiting front.