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Putting CFL fans first: My tour with The Fan Cup


When I attended the Canadian Football League (CFL) Partner Summit on behalf of TELUS in early 2012, I can honestly say I was not entirely sure where our partnership would take us. That said, I did leave the Summit with one lasting impression: “It Reflects Us All” – a recurring theme of not only the day, but more importantly the League and the exciting 100th Grey Cup celebration ahead of us. Everyone in attendance was reminded how The Grey Cup has become more than just a trophy, but rather a national icon that brings Canadians together each and every year. From this insight, it’s easy to tie our two organizations together. Much like the CFL, an organization fueled by its fans; we share this same dedication and passion about our customers and putting them first. This simple, but powerful parallel is the seed out of which The Fan Cup blossomed.

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Original sketch of The Fan Cup by our trophy designer, Jimmy Rogers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As many of us know, CFL legends are made immortal on The Grey Cup. The Fan Cup presented by TELUS was created to celebrate the 100th Grey Cup and most importantly, award fans for their support and loyalty to the CFL. We wanted to give fans something special: an ultimate CFL experience that will make them part of a landmark moment in Canadian football history and celebrate their unwavering support of the game. So how’d we do it exactly?

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My very own 100th Grey Cup collectable created via the TELUS penny press at the launch of the Grey Cup 100 Tour in Vancouver.

 

During the Grey Cup 100 Tour and at the 100th Grey Cup Festival, football fans from across the country used our custom built TELUS Penny Press to craft one-of-a-kind 100th Grey Cup collectables. Each one had a hole punched in it and from these pieces of legendary Canadian copper, The Fan Cup was cast. Part of this penny pressing process also included a tablet registration where we collected fans’ names to later engrave on The Fan Cup. As part of our ‘we give where we live’ philosophy, we further celebrated this experience by contributing $2 to KidSport Canada for every penny pressed. We believe that no kid should be left on the sidelines without the opportunity to experience the positive benefits of organized sports.

Of course, we didn’t want to exclude any fan who might not have been able to make it out to a Grey Cup 100 Tour stop or visit us at the Festival in Toronto, so we opened the opportunity up to the digital world!  Fans had the option to visit telus.com/fancup to take part in The Fan Cup virtually from their own home or smartphone.

As you can imagine, by the time the train hit Toronto in November, The Fan Cup was already infamous, drawing in crowds of fans at every stop along the way. As a result, heavily promoting The Fan Cup to fans was less of a concern to me and instead, I was faced with a new challenge: how to find the “ultimate CFL fan” deserving of presenting this long-awaited trophy on behalf of all the fans across Canada? And so, “Capture the Cup presented by TELUS” was born! Capture the Cup, a proximity-based smartphone game, used downtown Toronto as a game board during the 100th Grey Cup Festival. The goal of this virtual scavenger hunt was to capture The Fan Cup and win prizes by keeping it away from opponents. At the end of it, the last die-hard fan holding the trophy won the Ultimate CFL Fan prize package, which included two tickets to the 100th Grey Cup Championship Game, where he presented The Fan Cup on-field to the Canadian Football Hall of Fame (CFHOF) – a tribute to the all-time MVPs of the CFL, the fans.

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Capture the Cup Winner, Nick Dyer from Vancouver, won the game on foot with a group of his friends who were up against fans using cabs and other vehicles.

 

 

 

The Fan Cup now holds the names of more than 8,000 CFL fans who contributed to its creation, including my own on the 49th plate.  The official induction ceremony took place at the CFHOF in Hamilton, Ontario on February 8, 2013. Even in harsh snow conditions, I was thrilled to see a crowd of Hamilton Tiger-Cats fans arrive in their best winter gear to see this first ever professional sports trophy up close and shake hands with special guests  such as, current Hamilton Tiger-Cats player, Peter Dyakowski; four-time Grey Cup champion and hall of famer, Damon Allen; and Executive Director of the CFHOH, Mark DeNobile. Yes, I was absolutely eager to unveil The Fan Cup in its finished form at this significant event, but I was also incredibly honoured to represent TELUS in presenting a $50,000 cheque to Dawn MacDonald, Executive Director of KidSport Ontario.

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Check out our video for The Fan Cup here:

I would love to thank each and every CFL fan who helped us make the 100th Grey Cup and The Fan Cup presented by TELUS two once a century experiences! Seeing your many smiles throughout this experience has made this long journey unbelievably rewarding to me and I can’t wait to celebrate with you again this year in Rider Nation at the 101st Grey Cup Festival.