Toronto FC turns fans on to TV
This season's games at BMO Field are already sold out, but Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment wants to remind fans that they can still watch all of the games live on TV. Bank of Montreal and Scotts Canada are signed on as sponsors.
Toronto sports buffs might still be reeling from Chris Bosh’s face injury, but now they can turn their attention to a local team with better prospects as the Toronto FC hosts its home opener tonight. Bank of Montreal (BMO) is back on as a title sponsor with several new contests and promos to keep things fresh. The bank is joined by gardening and lawn care products company Scotts Canada, which is helping promote the new au natural field, a switch from the artificial turf used in previous seasons.
Toronto FC is a young enterprise but already immensity popular – the 21,000-seat BMO Field stadium is already sold out for the season, with 16,000 people on the waiting list, says Rajani Kamath, spokesperson for Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment (MLSE).
MLSE’s goal is to increase the number of fans watching on TV, as all games are broadcast by partners Gol TV, CBC and Sportsnet. Targeting the younger-skewing male demo, MLSE has launched an online campaign focused on local sports and news websites like the Toronto Star, ESPN and Sportsnet.ca, with an additional heavy push on UK websites like BBC.co.uk and UKSport.com.
‘We use the BBC website as it’s definitely one that we know that our fans target. They have a favourite team overseas, but they also have a favourite team here,’ Klamath tells MiC. Creative for the campaign, which also includes a large Pattison billboard off of Highway 401 in Toronto, was done in-house, and media placement was arranged by Toronto-based Endeavour Marketing.
BMO continues to dole out the perks to customers through its Power of Blue program. Customers can enter through a designated gate, and they have chance to receive free gifts and participate in a centre-of-field coin toss with team captains. Also new this year is BMO’s ‘Ultimate Fan’ contest, hosted on BMOUltimateFan.com, for a chance to travel to MLSE team games outside of the city. The contests will be promoted in print and online, with media arranged by Cossette. The Toronto FC sponsorship was arranged in-house.
Susan Bundy, director, sponsorships for BMO, says the success of Toronto FC has been an unexpected and much welcome surprise for the brand. ‘Are we seeing a sense of it gaining traction in a grassroots way? Absolutely,’ she says. ‘It’s a fabulous alignment with our brand,’ she tells MiC.
About 60 branches are also sponsoring local football clubs, and it’s a program that BMO plans to grow and invest in this year, she says. ‘Eventually our dream is to have each branch adopting a club, so that is very much a focus going forward.’
New sponsor Scotts Lawn signed on for a one-year agreement, exchanging field maintenance work for brand presence during games. The stadium’s grounds crew will wear Scotts Canada-branded attire during matches, and Scotts will also be featured in a special Gol TV documentary on the field conversion, which cost $5.5 million.
‘We saw it as a great opportunity to put in front of them a really quality playing surface that we assist in maintaining and providing,’ Scott MacDonald, category marketing manager, Scotts Canada, tells MiC. ‘It’s a great fit, because so many sponsorships are just putting your logo up and hoping you generate some awareness, whereas we’re going to be actively involved in trying to provide the best playing surface possible.’