Free Idea Fridays!

The Boys of Summer³
Who would have imagined the sheer happiness of this rainy August long weekend with so many sports to watch? 

With the love of live sports disrupted; we take to our televisions sets to indulge in one of our favourite past-times – cheering on our favorite team(s).

With the world of events fully engrossed in producing the best virtual meetings possible for their clients, I got to thinking about how our industry could mimic some of the best ideas from the new world of sports – broadcasting, sponsorship and fan engagement.

The Canadiens-Penguins game netted an average of 1.5M viewers as the NHL restarted (2 million at peak for TV viewers).  The return of “the good old hockey game” afforded NBC the most-watched double-header in four years.  The primetime viewership was the highest ever on NBC for an NHL game featuring a Canadian team, not including Winter Classics and traditional playoff games.  NBC is the official US broadcaster – we’re not talking just Canadian hockey fans anymore -- the reach for advertisers has expanded.

This sparked a variety of new sponsorship opportunities made especially for the television screen. MLB is upping sponsorship inventory with a few new spots, including the once sacred pitchers’ mound. The small piece of screen real-estate hits it out of the park, giving top sponsors the bullseye recognition, they deserve.

Tip – find that sacred spot on your screen to highlight your top sponsors
Rink board advertisements all have a local flavour. For example, when the Carolina Hurricanes – who play in the Toronto hub – were the home team, the North Carolina-based “Harris Teeter” supermarket logo was featured by the blue line, while behind the net you could see signage for “Storm Brew,” a Raleigh, N.C. beer. The official coffee and donut chains representing both nations – Dunkin Donuts and Tim Hortons – can also be seen in the same rink (my godson lives in North Carolina, so I follow the Canes for him, but deep down I know he’s a die-hard Leafs fan like his dad).

Tip – Sponsorship reach is global

Fan Engagement

Familiarity is comforting
Every team has their “rally cry” (Goal Horn song). Even though the game was being played in Edmonton, I was so happy to hear the familiar horn and tune played after each Chicago Black Hawks goal the other night.  Have a listen (but I warn you, this little diddy will stick in your head for days)

The song is "Chelsea Dagger" by the Fratelli’s and while making Chicagoans giddy, it definitely frays the nerves of opposing players and fans. 

During the Blue Jays “home opener” in Washington, DC, the players all got their usual walk up musical introductions, and in the Raptors “home game” against the Lakers on the weekend, their starting line-up was introduced by the familiar voice of Herbie Kuhn. 

Tip – Keeping things familiar is a great strategy for loyal fans – and for your own corporate team.
Fan Cut-outs
Many MLB teams (including the Toronto Blues Jays, once they get to Buffalo) are offering a cardboard cut-out program to their season ticket holders, in which fans can pay to have a cardboard likeness of themselves in the stands during home games, with proceeds going to the team’s favourite charities.  During the LA Dodgers opening weekend, there was Entertainment Tonight’s former host, Mary Hart, in the front row behind home plate.
Virtual Fan
The NBA is utilizing Microsoft Teams' new "Together Mode" to put fans on 17-foot-tall LED screens.  Check out ideas for sponsor contests driven by social media campaigns, like this one from Michelob: