Enraged by the visiting Roughriders purchasing a tauntastic billboard outside of BC Place, BC Lion president/CEO Dennis Skulsky (above) guaranteed a victory over Saskatchewan yesterday. After the host Lions failed to deliver on Skulsky’s promise, The Province’s Ed Willis scoffs at claims Skulsky is a promotional mastermind.
In a crucial game for the team, Skulsky jacked up the defending Grey Cup champs to the point where they beat the Lions 20-16 with their backup quarterback playing the second half. That loss left the Lions in last place in the West and has jeopardized their playoff chances.
You have to admit, it’s a loose interpretation of the term genius.
But there’s a larger issue involved here, one that speaks to the state of the Lions. Until this year, the franchise never needed a guaranteed win to sell its product. Under Bob Ackles and Wally Buono, the Lions brand was built through a series of successful, exciting teams that earned the support of the community. There was no need for gimmicks, no need for hype. People invested in the team because they knew they’d be entertained.
Now? Since, moving into B.C. Place in 2011, attendance has decreased every year and, barring a miracle over their final four home dates, it will fall again this season. Against that backdrop, Skulsky made a grandstand play in an attempt to raise the Lions’ profile.