Celebrating 100 years of the Grey Cup
The Tricolour glint on the Grey Cup continues. Alumnae Sara Moore, Artsci’91, and Shannon Ballard, Artsc’00, are on point at the Canadian Football League (CFL) League office in Toronto – Sara as Vice-President of Marketing and Shannon as Director of Marketing – and are quarterbacking many of the initiatives leading up to the 100th playing of the Grey Cup on November 25th, 2012 in Toronto.
Sara and Shannon are oddity rarity in the world of pro sports league management. On a playing field that’s still dominated by men, both Sara and Shannon are CFL starters because know their stuff, are keen sports fans, and have benefited from what Shannon describes as “a Queen’s education that teaches you critical thinking skills that allow you to be flexible and adaptable in your career.” There’s no debating that both women came to the CFL with varied resumes and solid work experience.
Sara, a politics major worked at Rogers Wireless, Alliance Atlantis Broadcasting, Yahoo! (Canada), and Mobilicity prior to joining the CFL management team in October 2011. Shannon, who studied history and politics at Queen’s, honed her marketing skills with Intrawest Development Group, Blue Mountain Resort and as a marketing course instructor at Georgian College before landing what she describes as “a dream job” with the CFL in August 2008.
This past year, Sara and Shannon rolled out a number of unique initiatives to mark this important Canadian milestone.
They’ve done so with an ambitious plan that included the issuance of a vast commemorative circulation stamp collection with Canada Post, a Grey Cup loonie and a book on the definitive history of 100 Grey Cups by by sportswriter Stephen Brunt. A partnership with Canadian Geographic also launched a nationwide photo contest and a bilingual, curriculum based educational program for school aged children to bring the incredible history of the CFL and the Grey Cup right into our schools.
The most ambitious marketing endeavour the League has undertaken is the launch of The Grey Cup 100 Train Tour presented by RONA. (Greycuptour.ca) This coast to coast nation 100 stop tour launched at the beginning of September and made its way across Canada through big cities and small communities alike. This special retro-fitted train delighted fans with a collection of memorabilia, a replica CFL team locker room and of course, the opportunity to get a photo with the Grey Cup.
Both Sara and Shannon will be at the Rogers Centre in Toronto on November 25 when players from the winning team hoist the Grey Cup. And who do Sara and Shannon think – and hope – that will be?
“Oh, I can’t say!” says Shannon with a laugh. “Sara and I have to be neutral.”