Smart Partners

The CFL

Speed is important on and off the football field

With over 11 million fans across the country, the Canadian Football League has many people to please, so those who work in their headquarters in Toronto have a lot riding on their internet connection.

Eric Noivo, Manager of Football Operations, and Sully Syed, Senior Director of Technology, approach their work at CFL HQ from different angles, but they have at least one of the same needs in common: “The faster the better,” says Noivo.

All those seconds and minutes add up.

Sully Syed, Senior Director of Technology

Fast, reliable, secure internet is this league’s secret play

Whether they’re cutting game footage to send to teams, sharing trades, injuries, and player transactions, or even monitoring the weather for player and fan safety, secure and reliable internet is key to the CFL’s success.

“Why did we go with Shaw?” asks Syed. “It’s actually a really easy answer. It’s literally the fastest, highest reliability, lowest latency Internet connection available.” Latency—a delay in data transfer—has recently become an even bigger concern for the league, as it’s moved towards creating its own video content.

“All those seconds and minutes add up,” says Syed. “It’s incredibly important to help us service our fans. We have an obligation to deliver results to our fans as we’re all competing for the time and attention of our fans. We need to ensure the quality of our content is as good or better than anyone else.”

The sports industry moves fast—its internet needs to move faster

And with 70 employees, working with nine member leagues, playing 95 games per season, there’s constant time sensitive, sometimes private information going back and forth. “Every Monday morning, we review the plays for discipline to ensure that player safety is being upheld,” says Noivo. “And in the case of injuries, there’s player health and safety data being shared, so there’s a lot of confidentiality implications.”

No matter what the application, the Canadian Football League requires internet reliability, something the team in Toronto wasn’t confident about given the age of their downtown Toronto office building. “Shaw sent someone to do an evaluation of our 120-year-old building,” says Syed. “They resolved to run a new line to the office to make sure it was not going to have any issues.”

“The sports industry in general is a very fast-moving business. Shaw’s been a terrific partner in that,” says Syed. “Things should be limited by the human and not the technology.”

With nearly 10 million viewers tuning in to watch the Grey Cup every year, CFL employees have got to be on their game as well. “And the lengths Shaw’s willing to go to ensure people have a great experience at our events is fantastic,” says Syed.

And as sports fans themselves, Noivo agrees that sharing CFL with the country, and the world, is the best part of the job. “It brings all of us a lot of joy to bring that to people and make sure everyone’s happy.”