CFL unveils new logo, slogan: 'What we're made of'
"The time has come to update and transform how we present ourselves," he said, making his first state-of-the-league address during Grey Cup week in Winnipeg on Friday.
Orridge said the new look and slogan — "What we're made of" — takes advantage of momentum in the league with new stars and a handful of new stadiums.
Despite sellouts in some cities, attendance across the league has been flat in the past several years and television ratings have fallen 15 per cent, said Orridge, who assumed his duties as commissioner last April.
It is hoped the transformation of the CFL brand will inject new buzz, attract new fans and propel things forward, he said, also reiterating the announcement in September that the league has a new apparel partner in Adidas.
That will bring new gear to stores and fans and "elevate our brand," Orridge said.
"Our great fans will be the first to tell you: we need more fans. And in particular, we need to attract the next generation of fans, so this league is strong for years to come."
There is a strong foundation in the league and sometimes the wind is at the CFL's back, but sometimes it faces headwinds that shake things up, he said.
"Transitions and transformation are not always smooth, but a bit of turbulence is something you go through at times of gaining altitude," Orridge said.
The new brand campaign is a sign of optimism about the future, he said, adding the CFL is also launching new websites and mobile apps, for the league and individual teams, to connect with fans.
"And there will be more to come. Much more to come," Orridge said.
Orridge also promised to address the high number of quarterback injuries this year,
"I believe the most significant challenge facing our product [in 2015] was injuries to quarterbacks," he said.
Seven of the league's nine teams lost their starting QBs at some point in the season, with a few losing both their top two quarterbacks for significant periods of time. Due to the injuries, a CFL record was set with 28 different starting QBs suiting up this year.
"Injuries are a part of any sport, but clearly this is an extreme case," said Orridge. "The truth is, this affected teams' ability to perform at their best and so it did affect our product.
"Maybe there are some underlying issues and we're going to examine that. While we have done much to protect QBs, [perhaps] there's even more that we can do. We owe it to our fans and our product to sit down in the off-season to take a careful look at this."
Facing a number of questions from reporters about why the CFL still has no drug policy, Orridge said it has been more complicated than he initially thought, involving the players association and collective bargaining.
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The CFL's proposed policy has been criticized for being too lenient, failing to suspend players who test positive while competing in other leagues.
"I was on the job less than a week when I was informed that the current lab we had would no longer be testing for us unless we made changes. Since that time I've been espousing change and positive change for player health and safety," Orridge said.
"At the present time I can't disclose particulars because we're still in discussion with the players association. It's part of the collective bargaining agreement, so we have to do it in partnership with them, and we want to make sure we do it right."