Social media erupted Thursday following a guarantee from BC Lions President Dennis Skulsky that the Lions would win Sunday against the Saskatchewan Roughriders. Most of the uproar came from Rider Nation who took great offence to Skulsky’s declaration, but really they’re being a bit hypocritical.
The Riders recently bought some billboard space near BC Place Stadium proclaiming that “Green is the new Orange”. It’s not the first time the Riders have felt the need to invade other teams’ markets; they’ve been buying billboards in opposing prairie cities for years. They don’t need to do it, they sell more merchandise than all other teams combined and their fanbase is dedicated and loyal. Yes there are many Saskatchewan ex-pats who now reside in beautiful British Columbia who still bleed green. None of them needed to be reminded that the Riders are coming to town by a billboard.
The Riders are holding a “Riderville” party at the Commodore Ballroom prior to Sunday’s game and if they had used the billboard to advertise that instead of taking a perceived shot at the fan base here, perhaps the Lions would not have felt compelled to jump into the fire.
But they did, and good on them for doing it. This is their market, their stadium, their fan base and Skulsky stood up for his club and this province.
“Bulletin board material” screamed Rider Nation. How dare they be so cocky against the mighty Riders! Even former Lion Ricky Foley got riled up on twitter…thanks for drumming up the hype Ricky! If this serves as bulletin board material for the Riders, than make no mistake the billboard serves the same purpose for the Lions and it should be one intense game, not that it wouldn’t have been anyway in a big West division clash.
Meanwhile talk radio and social media have been flooded by talk of the guarantee. The Lions are the biggest story in town because of it and that doesn’t happen very often in hockey crazed Vancouver.
Skulsky is really in a no lose position here. He doesn’t care about putting himself on the line if it means getting more butts in the seats. With the biggest crowd of the season expected Sunday, many will be casual fans who come out for the bigger games of the season. And many more who weren’t considering the game Sunday as an option, now may do so.
This was a marketing move, plain and simple. The Riders felt a need to be cocky with their billboard, the Lions responded with a guaranteed win, and they’re putting their money where their mouth is. Who knows, those “thousands” of Rider fans may even get a free game out of it…maybe a few of them will decide that ORANGE is the new GREEN.
Well played Mr. Skulsky, well played, and for the record, I’m not expecting my free ticket. ROAR YOU LIONS ROAR!