2019-07-02
New and now: How can brands hit the sponsorship sweet spot?
Basketball season is over, summer is the season of tournaments, festivals and more. Here's the emerging opportunities our experts are watching."It feels like we're all coming off a Raptors hangover."Mike Lang, partner at Lang Marketing, chuckles as he reflects on the two weeks since the Toronto team took home its first NBA championship title. The win was more than a glorious moment for sports and sports fans, says Lang; it was a watershed moment in Canadian culture, celebrating the unifying power of sport. Amidst the spread of Raptors Fever, players have been hounded at every restaurant and shop they enter, head coach Nick Nurse has become an actual rock star and brands have thrown themselves at team star Kawhi Leonard.From paid media to earned media and attempted virality, few brands didn't try to get in on the Raptors' magic.But there's more to sponsorship than basketball – or hockey, or even sports. As the sun beats down, the temperatures rise, the festival-goers purchase their tickets and the city streets close down for parties every other weekend, brands are looking for the most effective ways to reach crowds, whether it's through sports, arts or other experiential executions.Sponsorship spend has varied over the years; according to the ACA, sponsorship's share of marcom budgets peaked in 2011, with 29.6%. It's gone up and down since then, and as of year-end 2018 represents 23.3% of marcom spend. In terms of rights fees, Canadian sponsorship spend came to $1.8 billion last year, a slight dip from its $1.94 billion peak, but activation is as high as it's ever been, at $1.22 billion.Some in the industry say this isn't necessarily because there are more opportunities – the opportunities have always been there. But brands are getting more creative with them.CARD tapped three sponsorship experts, including Lang, to see where they think sponsorship is heading, and what opportunities brands should keep their eyes peeled for.Underdog sportsWhile the Raptors hangover is pulsating, Lang says there's a potential "halo effect" from the victory. "Jurassic Park was more than a place. It was a concept. It brought a level of fan engagement. I think the Raptors run proved that Toronto is ready for that kind of enthusiasm. The Raptors got everyone out of their houses, and I think people are still looking for that collective excitement."The Honda Indy and the Rogers Cup already typically attract big crowds (last year's a Indy saw an estimated 125,000, and the 2018 Rogers Cup men's event saw more than 150,000 in attendance, the highest in eight years). But Lang thinks enthusiasm around Canadian sports could bring those events outside of niche. People want to see Canada win, he said.But another halo from the Raptors is the focus on diversity, which was a unifying theme for the basketball team, as well as national appeal. That gives Lang hope for one rising sport: cricket."Hockey has always been very local market-driven, but we now have something that all of Canada can get behind full-force. I think there's a ton of potential for cricket in that same vein." This year, Canada will play host to the T20 tournament, a rapidly growing international cricket tournament. "There are players from around the world, especially the Indian market, who are considered the Sidney Crosby or Kawhi Leonard of their sports, and have never played outside of their home market. This can capture the same diversity and multicultural enthusiasm people showed for the Raptors." The event will be broadcast across 150 countries and, in keeping with previous results, is expected to draw daily audiences in excess of 100 million (no Canadian broadcaster has been announced yet).Matthew Klar, VP of strategy at MKTG, is keeping his eye on another sport that might not necessarily get people outside, but could provide strong ROI for brands."I see major opportunities in e-sports for brands to get in on an emerging platform." He says that although he's seen activations from numerous categories including auto, CPG and beer, there's overall "not a lot of activity in e-sports" from brands, giving advertisers an opportunity get get in well below market premiums. "You're seen as a driver, and you're getting in early as a space. It helps you be seen as a builder."But Jim Kozak, VP and head of MediaCom Sport and Entertainment, says e-sports can be seen as a risky investment due to a lack of solid figures around it, which can make it difficult to predict or prove ROI. "The biggest challenge for e-sports in Canada is, people always want to know where the eyeballs are [from]." There's not a lot of solid data from the platforms, he says. "If you're watching on Twitch, how many of those unique viewers are from Canada?"Kozak says the most reliable global stats state that an average of 12% of the global e-sports audience is in North America, and judging by the population proportions, that might mean that only one to two percent come from Canada. So although there aren't too many brands involved yet, Kozak says it's fair to call the investment in e-sports sponsorship coming out of North America "disproportionate," representing about 39% of global e-sports spending. But he says getting in while CPMs are still low might be worth it. "If you go all-in, you have to realize that you're going to have a conversation with a very niche audience."Kozak is also watching the rise of F1 in Montreal. "They've invested a lot in the hospitality aspect, and they've created a lot more opportunities for national advertisements as opposed to just the global sponsors."Music, festivals and moreFestivals aren't as popular in terms of sponsorship spending, according to the ACA. At their peak (2011 to 2013), festivals represented 24% of sponsorship spend, before falling to 8.3% in 2018.Klar says one of the possible reasons for this is that there's an over-saturation of these types of events. "There's a music festival every weekend, and it's become increasingly cluttered. It's very hard for a brand to understand how to have value at these festivals, although they have become more sophisticated at integrating brands. But for a multi-day activation, it does require a significant investment to break through."In its own research, MKTG has found that country music fans are the most receptive to brand sponsorships at festivals. Boots and Hearts, he says, "has become an extremely important property from a branding perspective."On the other side of the musical spectrum, there's Drake's hip-hop and R&B-themed OVO Fest, which is set to make a comeback this summer after a one-year hiatus. Klar says OVO turns everything it touches "to gold." With an additional brand halo in the wake of the Raps' victory and Drake's extended visibility, Klar says "it's evidence of the crossover between sport and lifestyle, and the festival will undoubtedly benefit from that."RBC recently partnered with OVO to create a youth entrepreneurship summit, which Klar says is an example of building credibility with younger demos. "Sponsors see OVO as a property with credibility both within the music and lifestyle [spaces] that gives them direct access to their fans."There are the natural alignments – truck brands for country music, alcohol brands for music festivals. But Klar says brands should start thinking outside the box if they want to actually cut through that noise and make the investments worth it. Last year, Danone, which was long associated with sponsoring athletic events, sponsored the Osheaga music festival. And Klar has seen some unexpectedly resonant activations at TIFF."The festival has done a really great job of transitioning from an elite, red-carpet, glitz and glamour property that attracted more luxury and prestige brands to now more of a festival environment. You'll see No Frills, Lyft, people targeting mass audiences as opposed to the high-earning crowd."Kozak adds that brands need to look for unconventional fits from every angle. He gives kudos to RBC, for example, which combined its RBC Music platform with the RBC Canadian Open golf championship, creating a cross-platform opportunity for advertisers. "There were two nights that attracted approximately 15,000 per night, and helped increase attendance by 300%," says Kozak. The cross-platforming gave a residual boost to other brands as well. "Beer sales were up 200%, so I [beer sponsor] Steam Whistle really benefited there too. Because now, all the other partners that are a part of the Open are now benefiting from the association with music, which is a passion point for many."In terms of a silver bullet for ROI, Kozak says brands can think small and low-risk, like hyper-local festivals and events (such as Toronto's Tastes of the Danforth and local rib festivals), but his personal belief for the best ROI is the Calgary Stampede.It requires a bigger investment, he says, being a 10-day festival. But that gives brands every opportunity to be top-of-mind. "It provides brands with the opportunity to engage with Stampede-goers through a targeted onsite environment with engaged visitors... [there's] exposure through signage, consumer engagement through sampling, onsite activities." The festival is a big enough combination of interactivity, shareable moments and experiential components that it gives brands plenty of opportunities to cut through the noise, he says.Article by Bree Rody-Mantha as posted on CARD Online....
2019-07-02
Safeway Partners with Canadian Football League to Launch Safeway #myCflfamily, Bringing Families Closer to the Game this Season
Today, Safeway announced a major new sponsorship to support the Canadian Football League (CFL) in Western Canada. Celebrating the powerful connection between family, food and sports, the first program Safeway will launch as part of this new partnership is the Safeway #myCFLfamily contest. Building on a solid legacy of supporting Western Canadian sports teams, Safeway's new partnership with the CFL will bring families closer to the game they love."After more than two decades supporting Western Canada's sports teams and football related contests, we wanted to take it to the next level for our customers through this CFL partnership," said Sandra Sanderson, SVP, Marketing, Sobeys Inc. "Safeway customers are true Canadian football fans, and this partnership will allow us to provide our customers and their families with iconic Canadian experiences, while also deepening our support for Canadian football and the CFL."Launching on July 25, 2019, the Safeway #myCFLfamily contest will provide customers with multiple chances each week to win a Family Prize Pack which will include four regular season game tickets, CFL merchandise and Safeway gift cards. To top off the season, Safeway customers will also have the opportunity to win one of two grand prize Family VIP experiences at the 107th Grey Cup presented by Shaw held in Calgary on November 24, 2019.Safeway shoppers will be entered to win the Family Prize Packs by making a purchase in any Safeway store and swiping their AIR MILES card."We are excited to bring together two great Canadian brands to deepen our commitment to our incredible fans and their families." said Tyler Mazereeuw, Chief Revenue and Marketing Officer for the CFL. "This collaboration will allow us to connect with more CFL fans across Western Canada, rewarding them with opportunities to experience CFL action in-person during the regular season and at Grey Cup."Western Canadians have clearly demonstrated their passion for the CFL and Safeway is proud to play a meaningful role in celebrating the common bond of family, food and sport with customers and fans alike.Click here to the Safeway (Sobeys) profile....
2019-06-28
OVERACTIVE MEDIA, BELL ANNOUNCE STRATEGIC PARTNERSHIP
OverActive Media (OAM), the only global esports entertainment organization to own teams in the three biggest franchised leagues, announced today a comprehensive partnership agreement with Bell, Canada’s largest communications company, acquiring a minority interest in OAM as well as becoming OAM’s first Founding Marketing Partner.The wide-ranging multi-year agreement designates Bell as OAM’s exclusive telecommunications partner and includes team sponsorship, content integration, event production, experiential activations and traditional and online advertising. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.“We are building an industry-leading esports organization and redefining the sport and entertainment ecosystem. In those efforts, we have been mindful and purposeful in aligning ourselves with premium brands and today we are doing just that,” said Chris Overholt, President and CEO of OAM. “I’d like to welcome Bell to the OAM family as our first Founding Partner. We look forward to collaborating and working together in the years to come.”“Bell is excited to invest in OAM to further our support of Canada’s rapidly growing esports community,” said Wade Oosterman, Bell’s Vice Chair and Group President. “With Canada’s best mobile network and an all-fibre network offering the fastest home Internet speeds and lowest latency, Bell looks forward to continuing to provide the best gaming experience as we expand the reach of professional esports to new audiences.”The strategic partnership between OAM and Bell includes all current Bell brands and subsidiaries, and provides Bell access to all current and future OAM Canadian-based franchises, including the Toronto Defiant and the new Toronto Call of Duty franchise.OAM has grown rapidly since last fall, recently launching its OAM Live events business, expanding its footprint into Spain and Latin America with the acquisition of Mad Lions EC, and adding global superstar The Weeknd to its ownership group. OAM now owns a total of 15 esports teams in seven countries, and is the only organization to own franchises in the League of Legends, Overwatch League and the soon to be launched Call of Duty League.Click here to view Bell's profile....
2019-06-27
Olympics-Sponsorship rule change will not apply to everyone - Canadian official
Changes in Germany to the Olympic rule that restricted sponsorship opportunities for athletes during a Games are not a “one-size-fits-all” decision for all countries, Canadian Olympic Committee President Tricia Smith said on Wednesday.In February German athletes and their sponsors scored a major victory over the International Olympic Committee, earning more possibilities to advertise during the Tokyo 2020 Games and raising alarm bells within the Olympic body.The German Cartel Office ruled the IOC and the German Olympic Sports Confederation (DOSB) were subject to existing competition laws and would need to grant more rights for promotional activities ahead of and during the Games.While this decision sets a European precedent, it is not legally binding in other parts of the world.“We had discussions with our athletes’ commission,” Smith, a lawyer, told Reuters in an interview on the sidelines of an IOC session.“It may not be one-size fits-all. I don’t think it is, Certainly not in the changing landscape of this issue.“The changes that will be proposed to rule 40 by the IOC will accommodate a lot of athletes’ wishes and allow them to continue their affiliation with long-term sponsors. I think it is a reasonable approach,” Smith said,Rule 40 of the Olympic Charter states “no competitor, team official or other team personnel who participates in the Olympic Games may allow his person, name, picture or sports performances to be used for advertising purposes during the Olympic Games.”It is seen as major advantage for Olympic sponsors, who sign up because until now they had exclusive exposure rights during the Games in all Olympic venues and areas. The German decision changes that for German athletes.As a result the IOC has urged national Olympic committees to discuss the matter with athletes. It is not clear if and when the IOC will propose changes to Rule 40.“The funding the IOC gets really funds the sports movement in the world. You have to make sure that is protected. The IOC puts 90 percent of their money back into sports,” Smith said.“We have to be careful to protect that solidarity and the feedback I got from our athletes is they definitely recognize that.”A four-time Olympian in rowing and a silver medallist at the Los Angeles 1984 Games, Smith is one of only a handful of women in charge of a national Olympic committee (NOC). In total, there are 206 NOCs.“I have been in the sports system a very long time. I have been part of change and I have seen the change,” she said.“Sport is one of the most powerful platforms to promote women and girls, to empower women. But there’s lot of work yet to do.“I have seen the value that diversity brings to a board. Boards making decisions are stronger when they have those diverse perspectives on them.” Article by Karolos Grohmann as posted on National Post....
2019-06-26
Olympics-Tokyo 2020 Games domestic sponsorship tops $3 bln as companies pile in
The Tokyo 2020 Olympics have generated record domestic sponsorship revenues of more than $3.0 billion, the International Olympic Committee said on Tuesday – three times more than any previous summer Games.There is huge enthusiasm among the Japanese for the Tokyo Games, and the public have rushed in their millions to buy tickets.The IOC’s Coordination Commission chief for Tokyo, John Coates, said local sponsorship agreements were up to 62 companies for all three tiers of sponsorship arrangements.“This equates to revenues exceeding 3.0 billion dollars from national partnerships. That is an amazing amount of money,” Coates told the IOC session.“This does not include the partnerships with (Japanese companies) Toyota, Bridgestone and Panasonic and their contribution to the TOP program.”The three companies have separate deals with the IOC as major sponsors of the organization, worth hundreds of millions of dollars in total.In comparison, the London 2012 Games raised roughly $1.1 billion from domestic sponsors – a record at the time – while Rio de Janeiro in 2016 claimed it had slightly surpassed London, although that is unlikely with final accounts inaccurate given ongoing corruption probes linked to those Olympics.The IOC has been struggling to attract new cities to bid for the Games and awarded the 2026 winter Olympics on Monday to Milan and Cortina D’Ampezzo after four other cities dropped out and Stockholm was left as the only other bidder.But in Japan, the Games have generated great enthusiasm with 7.5 million citizens registering to apply for tickets through a lottery system, many of whom ended up without any.Tokyo’s bid file had said some 7.8 million tickets would be available for Games but 20-30 percent of those are reserved for international customers and sponsors.“7.5 million ticket (requests). This is an indication of this strong support and high level of interest among the Japanese public,” Coates said. Article by Karolos Grohmann as posted on National Post....
2019-06-26
Natural Grocers becomes the official grocer of Colorado's Steamboat and Winter Park Ski Resorts
In partnership with Alterra Mountain Company, Natural Grocers announces its sponsorship of Steamboat Ski Resort and Winter Park Ski Resort in Colorado. With a mission to empower communities to lead healthier, vibrant lives, Natural Grocers will serve as the official grocer to the mountain destinations."My family and I have made the commitment to invest in mountain communities, preserving our parents' legacy that everyone should have access to the best health and nutrition products at affordable prices, along with the knowledge to support their own health. On or off the slope, we know our store offerings and free nutrition programs will fit perfectly with the communities' active lifestyles," said Natural Grocers Co-President Kemper Isely.As the official grocer of Steamboat Ski Resort and Winter Park Resort, Natural Grocers will be prominently displayed on signage throughout the resorts, have a presence at select resort events, provide a special gift at select lodging, and more."Natural Grocers' focus on living a healthy, active lifestyle aligns perfectly with the year-round recreation opportunities available to our guests at Steamboat and Winter Park Resort. We are very excited to work with Natural Grocers and look forward to introducing our guests to this great brand in creative and thoughtful ways through this sponsorship," said Alterra Mountain Company's Director of Brand Partnerships, Ryan Blanchard.A first glimpse of the partnership will be visible at the Winter Park Farmer's Market, where Natural Grocers will serve as presenting sponsor. The Farmer's Market will be held on July 21, August 18 and September 15.Visit Natural Grocers in Steamboat Springs, or view all Natural Grocers locations in Colorado.Natural Grocers offers 100 percent organic produce, meats that are sustainably and humanely raised without antibiotics, hormones or other growth promotants, 100 percent free-range eggs, 100 percent pasture-based dairy, 100 percent non-GMO bulk products, groceries that don't contain any artificial colors, flavors, sweeteners or preservatives, the highest quality supplements, paraben-free body care products and all-natural cleaning products.Click here to view Natural Grocers' profile....
2019-06-21
Do's and Don'ts and Well Maybes of Sponsorship
Building an effective sponsorship offering. Here are some tips on how to do it.  Research. Look deeply at both the local and industry sponsorship markets. Determine the most popular asset offerings and the most successful programs. Take Stock. What assets do you have to offer? Do you have onsite signage and activation space? What sort of digital following does your property or event have? Invest. Once you've taken stock of your team and your assets, what changes can be done? Did you find the assets you have lacking in any way? Are you willing to upgrade to attract larger deals and more prominent brands? For the complete details, Download it here. ...
2019-06-21
NBA Prospect RJ Barrett Scores Indochino Brand Ambassador Deal
Ahead of the NBA Draft tonight, RJ Barrett announced a deal with custom apparel company Indochino.Barrett, who is expected to go top five in the draft, has inked a multiyear, exclusive deal with the Vancouver-based brand. He’ll wear select looks from the label throughout the season and to high-profile events — the first being tonight’s draft.The small forward will show off his personal style in a bold pink suit with a black dress shirt underneath. For footwear, he’s going with Christian Louboutin, and fans can expect to see him in gray, stud-adorned loafers with the designer’s signature red bottoms.“The experience of hearing my name called on draft day is one I’ve been working toward my entire life,” Barrett said in a release. “It is the first of many unforgettable moments I hope to have in my NBA career. It’s important to me that my look always reflect the moment and leave a lasting impression. My competitive nature is what I show on the court, and Indochino will help me do the same in the style game off the court.”Article by Ella Chochrek as posted on FootWearNews.Click here to view Indochino's profile....
2019-06-20
BMW Canada Enters Partnership With Tennis Canada
BMW Canada announced it has entered into a strategic partnership with Tennis Canada as the National Automotive Partner of Tennis in Canada, and the Official Vehicle of the Rogers Cup.The agreement will run through the 2022 season, and covers both male and female Masters 1000 tournaments in addition to the Davis Cup and the Fed Cup.The automaker will also enter into a partnership with Canadian tennis star Bianca Andreescu.  She is currently ranked 22nd in the world according to the Women’s Tennis Association.“We are beyond excited to announce these partnerships and to invest in the future of tennis in this country,” said Sebastian Beuchel, director of brand management, BMW Canada. “Tennis is a sport where athletic precision and dynamic performance are paramount to success, aligning perfectly with BMW and the attributes that continue to define our automobiles and make us the number one premium automotive company globally.”“Organizations are defined by their partners, and we are thrilled to be partnering with one of the best brands.  BMW will help us improve our tournaments and deliver an elevated fan and player experience as a whole,” said Michael Downey, president and CEO of Tennis Canada. “We are excited to work in tandem with BMW to bring tennis to the forefront of Canadian athletics and, in doing so, position Canada as a bastion of international tennis excellence.”Article as posted on Canadian AutoWorld.Click here to view the BMW Canada profile....
2019-06-19
Lakeshore Securities Enters Into Sponsorship Agreement with The Oakville Centre For The Performing Arts
Lakeshore Securities, a leading independent investment advisory and portfolio management firm, today announced that it has entered into a Sponsorship Agreement with The Corporation of the Town of Oakville and The Oakville Centre for the Performing Arts, effective May 31, 2019.  Lakeshore is Series Sponsor of the 'Classic Albums Live', 'Comedy', and 'In Conversation With' performances for the 2019/2020 Season."We are very pleased to support The Oakville Centre for the Performing Arts in its endeavors to nurture Canadian talent, bring world class artists to Oakville and build the cultural strength of the community," stated William Podolsky, President and Chief Executive Officer of Lakeshore.Click here to view Lakeshore Securities Inc.'s profile....