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A New Kind of Ball Game


INFLUENCER: LP/AD's Rinita Barua reflects on how the world of sports will look in 2021 and 2022

A New Kind of Ball Game

Remember going into a packed arena with friends, lining up for snacks, and racing to the bathroom mid-game so you don’t miss anything but being met with a lineup there too? Yeah, me neither. 

Sports and sports marketing has changed vastly over the last year, and the idea of going to see a game seems like an entirely different world now. While major league sports are back after a shutdown last year, they definitely look different. 

Take rugby team, The Toronto Arrows, for example. At LP/AD, we’ve had the pleasure of working alongside the team for their promotional activities. We would’ve ideally spent March preparing to ramp up excitement around their home-opener game, but, unfortunately, their home opener game isn’t even happening at home. 

So, instead of focusing on promoting ticket sales and in-game activities, we’re maximizing pre- and post-game engagement. How can we go beyond the typical game experience? How can we bring new fans in now that the game is so much larger than the field? How can Instagram Reels and TikTok content drive interest in the team? Can we convert that interest into affection?

Drastic changes call for creative moves. The standard tactics no longer win the visibility game. With the day-of experience moving from a field bench to a home sofa, we have to bring attention to the live game with quirky and eye-catching messages. 

At least team brand sponsorships are still ongoing in the 2021 season, and new partnerships are continuing to form. PUMA just became The Arrows official boot sponsor for this year’s Major League Rugby Season. Although The Arrows aren’t playing any home games this year, we still found it worthwhile to utilize their Metrolinx partnership and push out local out of home ads like the one above. By using fun short descriptors of Rugby, we’re hoping to drive new eyes to the games. After all, who doesn’t want to see big, burly men running around in short shorts? While there may have been reduced sponsorship activities in general since last year, marketers (like us) have benefited from lower costs in out of home, print, radio, and TV. 

It’s hard to really predict how the world of sports will look later into 2021 and into 2022. Might be wishful thinking, but once vaccinations roll out to the general public, we’ll hopefully start to see major league sports transition back into filling their stadiums with real, non-cardboard audiences. 

Until then, grab a cold one and tune into TSN. The Arrows play April 17, at 10:30 am ET.  

Rinita Barua is copywriter at LP/Ad

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LP/AD, Tue, 13 Apr 2021 09:14:15 GMT