November 23, 2022 / What's Happening

SN Summit: The Playbook with Nick Nurse + Other Special Guests


Rogers Sports & Media’s SN Summit: The Playbook welcomed Nick Nurse, Head Coach of Canada Basketball’s men’s team and the Toronto Raptors, along with other special guests and industry experts, to join in-depth panel discussions exploring top trends marketers need to know to build an impactful sports marketing strategy. Conversation topics included how female sports fan are evolving, how team and league affiliation creates a foundation for success, and how athletes and media personalities can amplify brand messaging.  

You can watch a full recording of SN Summit: The Playbook here. 

The first panel was hosted by Sportsnet’s Christine Simpson, and featured: 

  • Kristina Covello-Garcia – National Manager, Marketing Communications at Hyundai Auto Canada, on using sports as part of Hyundai’s marketing mix: “It’s about building brand affinity. We’ve been leveraging hockey for over a decade, and it’s our way to connect with Canadians. It started with a media driven strategy and sponsorship with premium broadcasters, and that evolved into a content campaign, and then further into experiential activations. Through those types of associations, we have research that shows 2-3 times more interest in our brand. Our partnership with the NHL truly provides us the largest stage in Canada.”
  • Deidra Dionne – Head of Business Affairs at Sportsnet, on how Sportsnet approached brand partnerships: “It’s opening that door to brands to say if there is something you want to do around branded content, or live watch alongs, or targeting a female fan base, those ideas are always welcome because we’re always looking for new and creative ways to bring in new fans. We have a great history of doing that with our partners, and that’s only going to become the norm as we listen to marketers and match [their strategy] with our assets to bring it to life.”
  • Lisa Lui – Group Account Director at MKTG Sports & Entertainment, explaining why Subway affiliates with basketball: “[Subway] had an interesting marketing challenge. Their portfolio was quite local and fragmented, and they needed to evolve to a more focused national platform. Sports made sense for Subway for a lot of reasons. Basketball hit their target audience – an audience that skews younger, diverse and inclusive… it gave them the cultural currency to achieve their marketing objectives.”
  • Lauri Holomis – VP, Sponsorships & Events for Biosteel, discussing how Biosteel chooses athlete ambassadors: “Organic and authentic – that’s what’s important to us. If it’s an individual athlete, influencer, media personality, team, or league, it’s knowing who uses Biosteel and who truly is authentic. We look for [athletes who share] the same core values [as our brand].” 

The session began with a highlight video exploring the top sports trends every marketer needs to know, such as: 

Sports fans support sponsors of their favourite team(s) 

Over half of sports fans say they like to support brands that partner with their favourite team, and research shows that marketers who align their brand with sports see a 17% increase in brand opinion and 15% increase in brand consideration/purchase intent. 

Multi-touchpoint sports campaigns lead to increased brand KPIs 

Our research shows that using multiple campaign executions provides a considerable lift on purchase consideration: 

  • Brandsell only: 18% lift 
  • Sponsorship only: 20% lift 
  • Branded Content: 23% lift 
  • All three as part of sports strategy: 29% lift 

Team affiliation helps drive sports engagement 

87% of Canadians who follow one of the four major pro sports leagues indicate they have a favourite team, whereas just 36% say they have a favourite player. Overall, team affinity has a stronger motivation than player affinity in terms of viewership.  

There are more female sports fans than ever before 

60% of Canadian Females are sports fans (11.7M), up from 11.2M in 2020, with hockey being the most popular sport among females across all demographics. Female sports fans lean heavily on TV for live and non-live sports related content, where male fans engage with sports across a multitude of platforms. Sportsnet was the #1 specialty station in Canada for female ages 25-54 during the 2021-2022 broadcast year. 

Marketers and advertising agencies can use sports to reach nearly everyone  

72% of Canadian (that’s 27M people!) are sports fans, and sports engages people of all age groups and backgrounds: 

  • 80% of Canadian families are sports fans 
  • 80% of new Canadians are sports fans 
  • 77% of BIPOC Canadians are sports fans 
  • 2/3 LGBTQ+ persons are sports fans 

Next, Sportsnet’s Brad Fay was joined by an all-star roster of panelists to explore why basketball is the fastest growing sport in Canada, attracting younger and more diverse fans, and how Sportsnet and Canada Basketball are teaming up to help the sport reach new heights. The panel included: 

  • Nick Nurse – Head Coach, Senior Men’s National Team“I love international basketball and I love growing the game, and that’s what I’m doing here in Canada.”
  • Víctor Lapeña – Head Coach, Senior Women’s National Team. “I was motivated to be part of a strong program, to work for women and to work with basketball ambition, and Canada Basketball gave me this. We were looking to combine that and family life. We were looking for a country, and Canada gave to me and to my family this possibility.”
  • Abby Albino – Director Brand & Partnership Canada Basketball, explaining the importance of the inaugural GLOBL JAM International Showcase: “Sportsnet provided so many opportunities for different brands to be integrated seamlessly into GLOBL JAM as an event property. It was a huge opportunity for us to showcase our women’s program. From a broadcast standpoint we had so many incredible integrations.”
  • Chantal Chiarelli – The Keg as Sr. Director of Marketing & Communications, on taking her 6- and 8-year-old sons to a Canada Basketball women’s game: “At the end of the game, my eldest son looked at me and said “mommy, that was epic!” I realized something had connected for him. I realized that this is a transformative moment in their lives where they can take something they experienced and start to become allies. Our youth are going to be the foundation to be able to continue perpetuating messages of gender equity.” 
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