Monday, March 25, 2013

Monday Evening Sentimonies: Mo Money Mo Problems

As promised I will tackle the issue of what the CFL should do with its newfound windfall of cash but first I suppose I should comment on the big Rider news.

Proving yet again that CFL contracts might as well be written on a triscuit cracker, the Riders cut Joe Lobendahn despite just signing him to a contract extension a month ago. Rumour has it that Taman just texted Lobendahn “Hey remember that extension we just signed you too? …. Pshych!” The void at MLB was quickly filled though as the Riders welcomed back Rey Williams.

I am decidedly indifferent on this one. I liked what Lobendahn did for us last year but also think Williams has enough left in the tank for a few more good seasons. So at worst it’s a saw off in terms of talent and Williams apparently comes at a lower price than Lobendahn (I’m going to stop using his name because I’m tired of typing it) so it’s a positive move. I think Rey has more upside but brings more risk. Rey’s got good sideline to sideline speed, sometimes leads to over pursuit but overall he’s a quality player and a hitting machine. Besides even if you hate him (not sure why you would but it’s possible), it can’t possibly be worse than the Shomari experiment last year.

No onto the money…
The new TSN TV deal is going to dump so much money into a league that has been forced to be extremely frugal in the past that they won’t know what to do with it all. Fortunately being the helpful guy I am, I’ve come up with a number of recommendations on what the new money can be used for. Here’s my Top 10:

10. Pay Rider Prophet an honorarium for his suggestions
9. Blue dot around the football during TV broadcasts to help increase viewership in the States
8. Actually invest in walls that will withstand wind in Winnipeg
7. Alcohol discounts
6. A Friday Night Football song that isn’t a complete and utter rip off of Faith Hill’s NFL song
5. Grillz for everyone… Gold Teef!!
4. Hire a new play-by-play guy so we never have to listen to Rob Black again (or just clone Cuthbert)
3. Phase out Grey Cup rings for winners and replace them with championship belts
2. Game day sherpas to carry me to my seat
1. Create a league of mascot soccer that play throughout the year at halftimes around the country with the championship during Grey Cup week

Friday, March 22, 2013

Friday Round-up: Tailgating and Other Misc News

On this glorious spring Friday morning (I can’t even type that with a straight face)… lousy Smarch weather. Anywho we will start off with a few bits of CFL news and then based on a reader request I will tackle the issue of tailgating.

-       Yesterday was a huge day for the CFL. They signed a 4 year extension with TSN for a reported $40 million a season. Contrast that with the $15 million they are currently receiving and the handouts/Braley pity money they used to rely on. Monday’s post will be devoted to how the league should spend this new windfall of cash. For now though people across the league will be revelling in the moment. The teams struggling to break even can now rest easy, the rich teams will get even richer (diamond encrusted spinners for all) and Mark Cohon can sleep sound at night… on top of piles of money, with many beautiful women.

-       The CFL Regional combines went this week with the main E-Camp going this weekend. As with every year no one in the country will have a clue what the results mean until Duane Ford tells us.

-       Odell Willis just can’t seem to keep out of the public spotlight for the wrong reasons. His latest occurrence was tweeting that there are some “dick riders as fans”. He of course quickly clarified that he wasn’t talking about rider fans but rather about bandwagon jumpers. Riiiggghhht. To be fair there are a few fans out there who have gone from calling Odell Willis an elite pass rusher to calling him a bum quicker than it took Willis to sign his Esks contract. However, the greater majority of us had concerns about Willis at the time of the trade, when he got arrested and throughout the season and for some reason don’t feel the need to cheer for him now that he’s on another team (how rude of us).

Now onto the issue of tailgating. The beauty of having 7 readers is that you can easily cater to all of their needs. I was asked to tackle the issue of tailgating and voila. So if any of the other 6 of you have requests for topics for posts by all means let me know.

This topic comes up all the time. People want to be able to tailgate at Mosaic Stadium like you see in NFL and College ball in the states. Surely it would add to the game day experience. The sad reality though is that it won’t happen because the Riders have no interest in it. Simply put, there is no money in it for them. They are quite happy continuing to charge full price for booze at the practice field which actually earns them $$ rather than deal with the headaches that come from letting people eat and drink for free. There is also the secondary legal issues related to drinking in public on someone else’s property.

But I have never been one to be thwarted by the “it’s not legal” obstacle. So unlike others who dwell on the reasons it can’t (and most likely will never) be done here is the Rider Prophet Plan For Tailgating At Rider Games.

First we need to tackle the legal issue because as long as the cops are the on the Riders’ side we don’t have a prayer. To do this we need to get Rider Nation declared as a religion. It’s really not that big of a stretch, we already have ceremonial clothing, a set calendar of religious observances and a set of religious hymns. Not only would that bring along some sweet tax breaks but it also means that the police can’t stop us from partaking in religious observances… like say sharing a sacramental Pilsner before a game. Naturally this new religion will need a leader and given my many years experience as a quasi-blasphemous religious figure I would gladly accept this high paying job opportunity. With the “religious practices” defense on our side it will give us a lot more freedom to partake in tailgating activities legally.

That only gets us part way there though. Even if we were a religion, Jim Hopson still isn’t just going to let us set up shop on City property. We need a piece of property of our own where our “church” can be located. Ideally we would just buy out a city block near the field and bulldoze the houses (not like anyone would miss them… though then who will phone 911 when the stadium is on fire?) but that would be far too expensive for an upstart religion with a highly paid prophet leader. A more cost effective way of going about this would be to have the piece of land we want declared a protected historical site. This will require some dirty work. Basically we need to dig up the corpse of a Rider great and bury them in the parking lot at Mosaic. Then we petition the city and province to declare it a protected site and make it so only those in our religion can go there to “pray” and “pay homage”.

And just like that we have place to tailgate, a legal reason to do so and a bonus opportunity for tax breaks.

Cross one more problem of the list thanks to the Rider Prophet. What’s next?  

Monday, March 18, 2013

Monday Morning Sentimonies: Random Quasi-Coherent Thoughts

The only thing there is less of than CFL news is effort on my part so please enjoy random quasi-coherent thoughts… or don’t, it’s a free country (for now).

-          This ridiculously extended winter better part of a provincial plan to shift the seasons over 2 months to ensure a beautiful day for the Grey Cup. Because at this point that’s about the only explanation that won't anger the masses.

-          This may be the first time I can remember where the preseason will be uglier than the post season.

-          While I realize that odds of John Chick coming back to the Riders are slim, forgive us for getting excited even at the remote chance. Sure Chick hasn’t played a CFL snap since 2009 but coincidentally that was the last time we had a credible pass rush. Since he left we’ve had to endure the likes of Remond Willis, Montez Murphy, Luc Mullinder, RJ Roberts (though that may just be an unsubstantiated rumour), Shomari Williams, Chris Ellis and Kitwana Jones. Oh and don’t forget the safety hurling himself aimlessly into the pile. So again forgive us for getting excited about the prospect of Foley and Chick at D-end

-          However, much like the prospect of a sack has been since Chick left for the NFL, him coming back to the Riders is mostly a pipe dream.

-          Speaking of the NFL, over the past year they’ve managed to have a replacement ref controversy, a power outage in the biggest name of the year and now the Dummerville fiasco where he agreed to a paycut but ended up getting cut because the new deal didn’t get faxed into the league in time. Meanwhile the CFL has just sat back and looked progressively less bush-league by comparison with each passing month.

-          Mark Cohon is probably secretly crossing his fingers that some NFL team will slip up and draft a dead guy.  Early money is on the Bills.

-          Riders signed 3 defensive ends I have never heard of… Hilee Taylor, Will Davis and Julian Miller. I’d like to get excited about them but given our recent track record of DE recruiting (see shameful list above) I just can’t.

-          I’m running out of post ideas so if you have any feel free to pass them my way. I’ve already solved the schedule and sponsorship problems, are there any more that need my attention?

Monday, March 11, 2013

Monday Morning Sentimonies: Solving The Sponsorship Issue

Last Monday, I posted my 8 step plan to solving the problems in getting the CFL schedule released. The next day the CFL schedule was released. You’re welcome. But I’m not one to rest on my accomplishments. I’m a man dedicated to this league and there are more issues afoot.

Word came out last week that Rona and Scotiabank were dropping off as major league sponsors. Now fortunately, unlike a few years ago, given the strength of the CFL, this news is not crippling. The CFL is now something people don’t feel ashamed to be publicly associated with… well the Blue Bombers maybe but I’m talking overall. Still, new sponsors are needed to help keep the League strong and being the good guy that I am, I have come up with a plan to help address this issue. And so I present…

Rider Prophet’s 3 Step Plan To Attracting New Sponsorship

1 – New Companies
While I appreciate Rona and Scotiabank’s support of the league, I’d be lying if I thought it was worth their while. Honestly, while I’m watching football I will not be inspired to bank or do home renos (I already have my wife nagging me to fix up the house, anything Rona put on was just overkill). We need sponsors that fit better with viewers’ mentality during a football game.

That’s why sponsors like Gibsons do well… a whisky commercial during a game is likely going to convince me to drink whisky (not that I need encouragement). Even Wendy’s (despite their mostly awful commercials) works because… let’s face it we are suckers for bacon and that baconator is somewhat tempting no matter how ridiculous the concept is.

We need to build on that though. Here are a few of the new sponsors I would see as a strategic fit:

Gambling – With apologies to Scotiabank, the only financial planning people do while watching football has to do with whether or not to take the spread. Sports Select, Sports Interaction, Bodog, sleazy Russian bookies… these are all sponsors that would have good strategic fit.

Drugs – In keeping with the theme of vices, drug dealers are an untapped source of ad revenue. They deal only in cash so you know they won’t skip out on a payment. Like any legitimate business they have product to move and a fair bit of CFL viewers would fall in their target market. To comply with laws I’m sure a few metaphors may have to be thrown in. But I’m sure if we saw a commercial for Jimmy’s “Novelty grass, powder and injectibles” we’d get the idea.

Scantily Clad Women – I can’t believe no one has clued into this yet. What is the one thing that could possibly distract a man’s attention from football? Women. Companies need to jump on this. Strip clubs, porn sites, or quite frankly a hot woman wearing nothing but a smile telling me to buy something I don’t even want, would be effective. Volcano Insurance? How can I go wrong?

Flex Seal – Quite frankly, I think I speak for all football fans when I say we just want to see what else we can make boats out of. – Their concept and jingle entertain me. They can stay.

Also all new sponsors will have to sign a contract where they are required to produce more than 2 commercials during a season and if their commercials are deemed to suck or be overly annoying to the fans a clause will automatically kick in which doubles their sponsorship fees. It’s like pay for performance only in reverse.

2 – New Revenue Streams
No stone unturned is my policy. The traditional sponsorship packages have their limits. Sponsors are looking for new and innovative advertising options and we need to offer that. I have a number of initial ideas to bring in new revenue streams and recommend striking a committee to brainstorm others.
-       Scrap whatever awful team name Ottawa is planning and sell it to the highest bidder. You may get the Ottawa Dodge Rams you may get the Ottawa Tampex Tapons either way you get paid.
-       Sell the opening coin toss to a new business each week and that company gets to determine what gets flipped. Could be a coin, a burger, a small child, a car. You’d have to tune in each week to find out.
-       A new weekly award will be created for biggest comeback effort of the week with the title sponsor being Viagra. The Viagra Comeback Players of the Week will be honoured for rising to the occasion and performing under pressure… and if a player’s reign as Viagra Comeback Player of the Week lasts more than 2 consecutive weeks they will be encouraged to see a doctor.

3 – Micro-Sponsorship
It’s getting harder and harder to find major sponsors willing to fork over millions of dollars. Trust me, the future of the industry is in what I call “Micro-Sponsorship” (patent pending).

What’s micro-sponsorship you ask? Well it may be hard to find a couple companies willing to part with big money, but it’s easy to find a ton of people willing to invest small amounts. What we do is open it up that for $250, anyone can sponsor obscure portions of the game. The more obscure the better.

So the micro-sponsor (patent pending) invests a small amount of money for an advertising opportunity that will come up rarely if at all. Here are just a few examples of the rare occurrences we could open up to micro-sponsorship (patent pending)
-       3rd and 31 situations
-       Animals on the field
-       1st and goals from the 23
-       2 or more punts in the same play
-       Blocked converts returned for points by the oppositions (because really, what are the odds of that happening?)
-       Ejections of a kicker
-       Embarrassing Henry Burris moments (this one would have to cost more than $250 though since it comes up quite a bit)
-       Dropped cheerleaders
-       Inadvertently injured camera men
-       Tampering fines
-       Winnipeg victories

For the low price of $250 these or anything else you could dream up could be yours. I will be the first to pony up $250 so that the next “Illegible receiver” is brought to you by the Rider Prophet. I would also kick in another $250 so that the next time Rob Black makes up a nickname for a player that no one will ever use again he has to follow it up with “… and this has been brought to you by the Coalition of People Who Think Rod Black Is An Idiot”.

It’s an easier way to generate money without minimal impact on the game. What micro-sponsorship opportunity would you invest in?

And there you have it folks, another CFL problem solved by the Prophet.