CIBC goes digital to engage with hockey fans

The financial institution is a few months into its five-year sponsorship with the CHL, which it's using to engage with smaller communities across Canada.

CIBC has embarked on a new way to engage with hockey fans.

The financial company has launched the CIBC Showdown app, which is also available as an online desktop site, and features a digital video player that showcases game highlights from the Canadian Hockey League’s (CHL) three divisions, including the Ontario Hockey League (OHL), Western Hockey League (WHL) and Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL). Fans can vote on their favourite play of the week on the app and share the video content through other social platforms.

The CIBC first joined the CHL as a sponsor in late 2016, with the five-year deal including the sponsorship of 23 teams, associated sponsorship of the MasterCard Memorial Cup and CHL Top Prospects Game and title sponsorship of the CICB Canada Russia series last November.

Andrew Greenlaw, senior director of sponsorship marketing with CIBC, said the first year of the partnership will mainly be focused on establishing the connection between CIBC and the CHL. “This stage is all about reinforcing our connection with the communities that these teams are in,” he said.

With the online platform itself, he said it’s part of a growing effort by the CIBC to capture hockey fans through digital media. He pointed to CIBC’s recent partnership with Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid and the four social videos it pushed starring McDavid. He said digital is preferred because of its hyper-targeting abilities, and its goal with the multi-platform Showdown initiative is to “reach people where they consume their content.”

CIBC dealt directly with the CHL for the sponsorship.

The app was developed by tech and e-commerce company Stadium Digital, which has launched similar platforms for teams such as the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. It also launched a similar fan-voted hockey app last year, one sponsored by Choice Hotels. Mark Silver, president of Stadium Digital, wouldn’t reveal exact engagement levels to MiC, but said throughout the year it received “tens of thousands” of votes each week.

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