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Volume 26 No. 49
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Opening Panel Looks At What Resonates With Today's Sports Fan

Fedak (l) said having someone like Drake associated with the Raptors is an innovative idea

What’s resonating with sports fans? That was topic for the first panel discussion at the ’19 Intersport Brand Engagement & Content Summit. The NBA Playoffs were top of mind for the brands on stage, and an early discussion turned to rapper and Raptors ambassador Drake, who has been in the news for his sideline behavior during games. AT&T VP/Media Buying & Sponsorships Mark Wright, whose company is an NBA sponsor, called Drake’s actions “healthy.” Wright: “To me, it doesn’t matter whether he’s giving the coach a neck massage. It does to some people, but at least people are talking about it and people are engaged. Hopefully, that will bear out in the national TV ratings (for the NBA Finals).” BMO Financial Head of Social & Sponsorships Marketing Justine Fedak, whose bank sponsors a few NBA teams, said having an entertainer at Drake’s level associated with the Raptors is a “very innovative idea for Canada.” Fedak: “Drake being an ambassador brought this different focus on entertainment merging with basketball. It also brought an interesting new dynamic to being interested in the Raptors vs. something like hockey.” Fedak noted that the relationship with Drake has even paid off on the business side for the club, as Drake’s apparel brand, OVO, bought naming rights to the team’s practice facility.

BASKETBALL 24/7/365: NBA Head of Media, Business Development & Global Partnerships Dan Rossomondo touched on plans for activation around the NBA Finals that start tonight. Beyond noting some special in-game moments, he noted that partners are pushing the league to continue to be a yearlong sport. Rossomondo: “The Finals are a seminal moment. But when that’s done we’re turning to the Draft, and that’s going to be a huge moment. And then free agency and the Summer League. We’ve also got the WNBA and USA Basketball.” Rossomondo also discussed the shot Kawhi Leonard hit against the 76ers to send the Raptors to the Eastern Conference Finals. Rossomondo: “It’s a happy coincidence if something goes viral. … When Kawhi hit that buzzer beater, (shot clock sponsor) Tissot had their moment.”
: Adidas Dir of U.S. Football Cam Collins discussed how drilling into smaller, local events is helping his brand resonate. He provided the example of a 7-on-7 youth flag football tourney in Miami last year, and how after the event, Adidas asked kids about their most fond memories around football. Many responded about how they enjoyed ice cream or snowcones after a hot day of practice or games. Collins: “We thought that was very cool and wanted to figure out a way to bring that to market. Fast-forward a year, and we launched a capsule collection of products called the Snow Cone pack where we created six different cleats inspired by different flavors of snowcones. Not only did we bring those products to market, but we brought in a snow cone truck and had some of our NFL players and entertainment assets deliver these cleats and snowcones to the kids in a key market for us back in Miami.”