The CFL's Twitter-powered Grey Cup sign is an innovative way to boost visibility

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The new #GreyCup sign will light up in different teams' colours from fans posting hashtags on Twitter.
The new #GreyCup sign will light up in different teams' colours from fans posting hashtags on Twitter.

One of the criticisms with the Grey Cup has been that it sometimes hasn't been all that visible in the host city, with many unaware the event's going on. The CFL's found an interesting way to address that this year, unveiling a giant 46-foot by seven-foot #GreyCup sign at the famed historic locale of The Forks in Winnipeg. What's particularly cool about this sign is that in addition to increasing visibility, it's also promoting the league's social media efforts, and it will be used in years to come as well. From a release:

The brightly-lit sign will become an annual Grey Cup landmark for cities playing host to the championship game and is controlled through social media activity. Fans who post to Twitter using the #GreyCup or #CoupeGrey hashtags with one of the team hashtags can light up the sign in real-time to support their favourite CFL team’s colours.

Here are the team hashtags:

  •         BC Lions - #LionsOrange

  •         Calgary Stampeders - #StampsRed

  •         Edmonton Eskimos - #GreenAndGold

  •         Winnipeg Blue Bombers - #BlueAndGold

  •         Saskatchewan Roughriders - #RiderGreen

  •         Hamilton Tiger-Cats - #BlackAndYellow

  •         Toronto Argonauts - #DoubleBlue

  •         Ottawa REDBLACKS - #RedAndBlack #RougeEtNoir

  •         Montreal Alouettes - #AlsRed #AlsRouge

That's a cool idea, especially considering how fans of every team usually descend on the Grey Cup. Now, if only they'd included hashtags for defunct (or never fully existant!) teams that usually have fans still attend, such as the Atlantic Schooners and Baltimore Stallions. Still, this is an interesting idea to promote fan engagement (and it works nicely with Grey Cup presenting sponsor Shaw, which will be offering free WiFi at over 4,000 ShawGo hotspots throughout Grey Cup Week; that should increase the opportunities for fans to interact with the sign). The CFL's generally been doing a good job on Twitter, Facebook and other forms of social media, with tweetups, lighthearted between-team rivalries, partnerships with other leagues and media organizations and various fun off-field videos. What's particularly neat with the sign is that while it's controlled by social media, it will be visible to everyone, not just those engaging with the league on Twitter. It may prove an interesting way for the league to boost the profile of its social media efforts, and it certainly should help increase the visibility of Grey Cup Week's events.

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