Atlantic University Sport hosts football media day to kick off new season

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Sept. 5, 2013 (HALIFAX, N.S.) – Atlantic University Sport stakeholders, fans and members of the media gathered today at the Halifax Metro Centre to take part in an inaugural football media day to kick off the 2013 season.

Head football coaches, Jeff Cummins, Perry Marchese, Gary Waterman and Kelly Jeffrey from Acadia, Saint Mary’s, StFX and Mount Allison universities respectively addressed their upcoming seasons and spoke about this year’s teams.

Each coach was joined by a pivotal player from their roster: fifth-year DB Cam Wade (Acadia), fifth-year DB Fraser Vrenjak (Saint Mary’s), fourth-year LB Ron Omara (StFX) and third-year DL Jacob LeBlanc (Mount Allison) were all in attendance.

Coaches and players partook in a question and answer period with members of the media as well as answering questions sent in by fans and media via Twitter and watching on AUStv.

Several announcements around new conference initiatives were made by AUS executive director Phil Currie. In accordance with the AUS strategic plan, which was unveiled last fall, the development of a new marketing plan for the organization is nearing completion. Currie said the AUS is moving towards a market-driven sports model, something that was put in place recently in the (Ontario University Athletics (OUA) conference. Under this model, an increased emphasis is put onto delivering more resources towards sports information, communications and promoting events in what the market dictates as the highest revenue-generating sports: football, basketball and hockey.

The AUS plans to hold similar launch events in both basketball and hockey this season.

“We are very excited about working under this new model,” said Currie. “We are operating under the notion that ‘a rising tide lifts all boats’ and we believe that by investing more time and energy into these market favourites, we can better university sport as a whole and the student-athlete experience for all of our athletes.”

Also falling under the umbrella of the strategic plan, Currie announced the addition of a fourth full-time staff member in the AUS office. Katie Arbuckle has joined the team in the role of business development and marketing coordinator. “We are very excited to have Katie on board,” said Currie. “We believe increasing office capacity is imperative to accomplishing our strategic objectives.”

The plan also includes ambitious communications goals for Atlantic University Sport. Director of events and sport programming John Keefe touched on how these are being met.

In addition to all AUS championship events, beginning this season, the conference members have committed to feed all webcasts being provided on campus to the AUStv.ca web portal, including every AUS football game.

Live stats for all football games will continue to be available both online at the AUS website and via AUS’s mobile app, AUS Front Row, which Keefe notes already has over 3,500 downloads in the past year. Social media will also play an even more pivotal role this year. Twitter will be embedded into AUStv webcasts to allow for increased interaction with fans, and followers of the AUS can expect an increased focus on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube. And as with today’s media event, AUStv, Twitter and other platforms will continue be used as a tool to render the organization and its members even more accessible.

In closing this afternoon, Currie reminded fans that the 2013 Uteck Bowl is being hosted on the campus of the Loney Bowl champions.

“I believe strongly that this Uteck Bowl has the potential to be one of the most exciting events on the university sports calendar,” says Currie. “Hosting it in conjunction with the Loney Bowl champions will undoubtedly add an incredible amount of atmosphere to the event and also provide our conference representative with the opportunity to compete for a trip to the Vanier Cup in front of their fans.”

Currie also announced that general admission tickets for the CIS Uteck Bowl will go on sale this coming Wednesday, Sept. 11. The cost per grandstand ticket will be $25. General admission tickets will sell for $18, student/senior for $12 and youth 12 and under for $8. Children under two will be admitted free of charge.

Several AUS regular season and playoff games will once again be broadcast on Eastlink TV’s AUS Saturdays live on Channel 610 (HD) and Eastlink To Go, and OnDemand, beginning Saturday, Sept. 7 at 7 p.m.

The complete 2013 Atlantic University Sport football schedule with links to live stats and webcast information is available at www.atlanticuniversitysport.com.

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