North America’s most prosperous sports league is on Queen’s campus for four days, but they’re not exactly out there.
NFL on Campus, a marketing initiative that’s visiting several universities across Ontario and Quebec to promote CIS football, is working towards engaging new and existing fans.
The NFL on Campus crew previously visited Laval and Windsor, where spirits were reportedly high. Rachel Sarchielli, one of NFL Canada’s Brand Ambassadors, said they received a consistent flow of people arriving to play Madden NFL 13, some coming back more than once.
“We would see the same people over and over again,” Sarchielli said. “I’d be like, ‘Don’t you guys have to go to class?’”
The initiative is spearheaded by NFL Canada, a subsidiary of the United States’ National Football League. This year, the program has expanded, spanning eight weeks during the CIS football season.
So far, the NFL’s visit to Queen’s hasn’t been entirely successful. Student turnout was sparse on Wednesday, the program’s first day in Kingston, partially due to their obscure set-up in the ARC.
Initially, the Brand Ambassadors had three Xbox consoles lined up adjacent to the main lobby, but the set-up was later moved further down the hallway to an area with minimal student traffic.
An apparent disconnect between NFL Canada and Queen’s Athletics led to the abandonment of a potential flag football tournament, which is one of the events advertised on NFL Canada’s website. The coordination of the tournament is left up to the school. Since Queens’ intramural sign-ups don’t begin until Sept. 17, it won’t be run this week. According to Queen’s Athletics, the tournament may be revisited later this year.
In return for allowing the program to set up on campus, NFL Canada will make a $4,000 donation to the Queen’s football program, in addition to providing the school’s intramural program with NFL apparel.
The visit also helps the NFL study the composition of its fan base. While many Windsor students are supporters of the nearby Detroit Lions, Queen’s is heavily populated by Pittsburgh Steelers and New England Patriots fans, said the NFL reps.
“We just want to help support CIS football and represent the NFL,” Sarchielli said. “We want to make you a bigger fan.”
On Saturday, NFL on Campus will be set up at Richardson Stadium prior to the Queen’s-Western game.
— With files from Nick Faris