His name is Jeffrey Lyndon Orridge. He was born in New York City, and on March 17 he was named Commissioner-designate of the Canadian Football League [CFL]. With his appointment he also becomes the first nonwhite head of a major North American sports league.
On Facebook, Orridge referred to the historic appointment as “a dream job.”
A Harvard Law School graduate, Jeffrey Orridge brings a stellar background in sports and business to the new position.
In his professional career so far, Orridge has worked as the Executive Director and General Counsel for USA Basketball, also for Mattel Inc., Reebok International, and served as Chief Operating Officer and head of global business development for the Right to Play International charity.
Since 2011, Orridge has served as Executive Director of CBC Sports; his responsibilities included rights acquisitions, partnership management, revenue initiatives and program execution involving marquee sports properties and digital opportunities, management, and revenue optimization of sports properties.
As the chief negotiator, Orridge is credited for bringing the broadcasting rights to the 2014 and 2016 Olympic Games back to CBC-Radio-Canada, as well as the rights to the 2015 Pan American Games and the 2018 and 2020 Olympics for the network. He was also principally responsible for the management of the National Hockey League’s relationship with CBC.
Looking ahead to his new position and responsibilities, Orridge says, “[…] We are living in an age of seemingly limitless possibilities and the opportunities ahead for the Canadian Football League are second to none. My international experience and background have only reinforced for me the importance of the Canadian Football League… Its place in Canadian culture, on the Canadian sporting landscape, and in the hearts and minds of Canadians make this a responsibility I take very seriously and an opportunity for which I am very grateful.”
Jeffrey Orridge succeeds Mark Cohon, who recently stepped down after an eight-year run as league commissioner. He says “Jeffrey will be a tremendous leader for our league at an exciting time for its future.”
And in a ringing endorsement, CFL Board of Governors chairman Jim Lawson said, “[Orridge] has every skill set our board was looking for and he clearly understands what our league means to this country and what our fans and partners mean to this league.”
When he assumes his new position and duties on April 29, Jeffrey Orridge will become the 13th commissioner in league history and, more notably, the first person of African descent to hold the position.