After 13 days, stops in 88 Canadian cities, and more than 9,000 kilometres travelled coast to coast, the Nissan “Rally of the Titans” rolled into Toronto Thursday for the Grey Cup.
Ten CFL branded Titan XD pickups – one for each of the nine Canadian Football League teams and a 10th representing the Grey Cup – drove cross country, five starting in Vancouver and five in Halifax, competing in challenges along the way. The winning team – the East held a one-point lead over the West heading into Saturday’s finale on TSN – earns its conference’s “Nissan Kickoff Project” high schools bonus funds for their football programs.
Nissan originally launched The Kickoff Project three years ago as “Back In The Game”. It provides high school football programs with funding, equipment and uniforms . In 2016, 26 Canadian schools benefitted from it. Cumulatively, Nissan has handed more than $435,000 over three years .
“The concept is to support schools where the teams don’t have the right equipment, they don’t have the right coach, their field is in bad shape, or they don’t have jerseys,” said Didier Marsaud, senior manager of corporate communications at Nissan Canada. “We strongly believe in grassroots football, and if you don’t start at (the) school (level), you don’t raise the game.”
And, as for the cross-country tour, “it’s the launch of our Titan, the half-ton in particular coming to market now, and we wanted to give some more focus to the truck,” said Steven Rhind, Nissan Canada’s director of marketing. “We felt this was kind of a cool way to get the whole country sort of involved.
“It allowed us to connect nicely to the communities, too.”
All 10 Titans – featuring 5.0-litre Cummins turbo-diesel engines and 12,000 pounds of towing capacity –will be on display in downtown Toronto at the Nissan Titan Street Festival Friday and Saturday, and then on Grey Cup Sunday at the Nissan Titan Tailgate party at Ontario Place.
Nissan has been a sponsor of the CFL since 2007.