TSN, Canada Football Chat partner on new prospect game

The inaugural CanadaFootballChat.com Prospect Game is part of an aim to bring national exposure to high school football.
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CanadaFootballChat.com, a digital media and events company focusing on high school football and recruiting, is making a major move for exposure. The company has inked a deal with TSN to bring its inaugural prospect game to linear airwaves.

The endeavour has been five years in the making for both CFC and TSN, who share intellectual property.

“This is a totally new venture [for CFC] getting into TV production,” Lee Barette, president of Canada Football Chat, tells MiC. CFC will serve as the title sponsor of the initiative, which will bring national exposure to the 73 players slated to hit the field on June 1 for a game that will be broadcast June 2.

With TSN, CFC hopes to reach “people who aren’t aware of us, who become aware of our brand through the television exposure,” he says, adding he expects the broadcast to “skew high” among males aged 18 to 35.

CFC is a brand with “quite the following” across North American colleges and universities, according to Barette, although he did not reveal the brand’s total reach.

In-show segments, CFC branding on player jerseys as well as signage and game spots are all part of the media plan.

Additional sponsorship opportunities will be made within the body of this year’s broadcast and will develop closer to the date of the game, says Paul Graham, TSN’s VP and executive producer for live events. And, the CFC is already looking forward to knocking on the doors of sponsors come next year. “There will definitely be more interest from a media-buy standpoint,” Barette says.

Graham says TSN was looking to increase its football coverage outside of the pro leagues when Barette presented the opportunity. “We really wanted to own the space in football, not just at the CFL level and with our NFL coverage,” he says, because the network currently has nothing in place with university sports.

The prospect game is slated to air at noon on Sunday, June 2, “piggybacking” a CFL game as part of a plan to ensure a high production value. A primetime airing on TSN2 will follow on June 3. As for digital, Graham says, “We’ll see what life it has after that.”

“Any Canadian that plays in the CFL today, or ever, has played high school football in Canada,” he says. “We’re just looking from a telecast standpoint, to show some good football.”

CFC worked directly with TSN on the deal.