«Canada's sports business: experience of NHL, MLS, NBA»
Another RMA internship program was conducted on January 11th through 24th in Toronoto, Monreal and Ottawa for the students and partners of RMA business school “Sport Industry Management” program titled “Canada’s Sports Business: experience of NHL, MLS, NBA”.
The main events of the internship were, of course, centered on hockey: Canada, as is comonly known, is the original birthplace of this game, and it still remains the undisputable leader among the popular sports, enjoying the kind of popularity that soccer has in a country such as Brazil.
Among the clubs, that our participants had a chance to get acquainted with, were two absolute legends in the field. We are talking about Toronto Maple Leafs and their prime contender Montreal Canadiens, which is the oldest and most titulated club in NHL, and which included such stars Jacques Plante, Maurice Richard, Guy Lafleur, Ken Dryden, Larry Robinson, Patric Roy and many others.
Undoubtably, the was a lot of interest in visiting Ottawa Senators, despite the fact that this team has not had very large victories, the Senators were able to win Stanley Cup 11 times, and were at the time widely considered a hockey team of a considerable challenge.
Besides that, the program included a visit of a cult like (particularly among the fans) Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronoto, a familiarization with the work of The National Hockey League Players’ Association, which is particularly relevant in light of the upcoming 2016 World Cup, as well as the attendance of a game involving a current Stanley Cup winner — the Chicago Blackhawks.
It’s worth noting the unique approach of the North-American sports industry in engaging their audience, their event management and a show component, all of which elevates it to a leading position on a world stage. Beside the detailed and in-depth introduction to the day-to-day operational activities of the Canada’s hockey grandes, the internship program was also aimed at learning the transient rules of the organization and management of the professional clubs that include Top-10 most popular leagues in the world: NHL, MLS, NBA, MLB, and had given it’s participants the unique opportunity to acquire a cutting edge marketing and commercial instruments, which are only now begining to be implemented in the European sports industry.
The coordinator of the prject was Darius Kasparaitis, an Olympic champion (1992), who had spent 14 seasons playing in the NHL, and now is heading a development company Verzasca Group (Miami, USA).
Dates: 11 — 24 January 2016
Cities: Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa
Clubs: Toronto Maple Leafs, Montreal Canadians, Ottawa Senators (NHL), Toronto FC, Montreal Impact (MLS), Toronto Raptors (NBA).
Organizations: The National Hockey League Players’ Association (players trade union), The Hockey Hall of Fame (museum).
Stadiums: Air Canada Centre (Toronto Maple Leafs & Toronto Raptors home arena), BMO Field (Toronto FC), Bell Centre (Montreal Canadiens), Saputo Stadium (Montreal Impact), Canadian Tire Centre (Ottawa Senators).
Galen Davis on cooperation of the MLSE with partners and sponsors: “Some time ago, Coca-Cola launched Coca-Cola Zero and there they had the slogan: ‘The impossible becomes possible’, like it’s completely sugar free, but just as tasty, it’s a miracle! And we specially came up with such promotion for them with the ‘Toronto Maple Leafs’: there were 20 thousand tickets for home matches allocated, and we raffled them among the local customers of this Coca-Cola Zero — in cafes, in pizzerias, in retail.
In other words, we said the same thing as Coca-Cola said to its customers. We said: You guys can’t afford TML tickets in ordinary life, but in this life, in life with Coca-Cola, impossible is nothing: you go to super hockey and you go for free ... It was a great campaign, they were very pleased with it and they`ve really got what they wanted from it — sales increase.
Another example: a part of the collaboration between Raptors and Procter & Gamble. From our side, it was a pure improvisation, we just reacted very quickly to one funny incident. It was a match against Brooklyn in 2014 when Drake suddenly appears in the frame during one of the broadcasts, sitting right on the side line almost on the floor and cleaning his trousers with this roller. Well, you know Drake as a super cool, super popular rapper, and he is also the face of Raptors, the club’s ambassador. This episode has very quickly become an Internet meme, got a bunch of views on YouTube, it was actively discussed on social media: well, it’s really funny cause there was such a game, such a battle, but he was sitting and cleaning his pants ...
So we decided to use this case. And we used it — they agreed quickly with Bounce, one of the Procter & Gamble`s brands, and they made a limited batch of 1200 branded brushes called ‘official Toronto Raptors cleaning rollers’ by the next game. We just distributed them for free among the fans and the excitement was wild! All the media wrote about it, there were nearly 100 thousand posts on this topic — the media effect for Procter & Gamble turned out to be absolutely outstanding ...
Finally, I’ll tell you more how we promoted Right Guard deodorant, a product of Schwarzkopf & Henkel, another partner of TML. We also started from their slogan — ‘Xtreme Clear’ (Extreme Purity). I remember thinking: I wonder what could be associated with such purity in relation to hockey? And then I realized: ice, a filling machine. So we decorated our filling machines at the Air Canada Center exactly this way — we turned them into something like giant tubes of deodorant with the covers removed, the parallel is clear: absolutely clean ice — absolutely clean body.
We also achieved a very strong effect: we organized a leak on media two days before the first appearance of this machine, we gave them a picture of it. I remember we collected 6 thousand comments two hours after the first publication just on Twitter. And then it started: broadcast on CNN news, Sports Illustrated wrote about this car and so on..."