Tuesday, 31 May 2011

TML and PokerStars Go All In

It was announced today that the Toronto Maple Leafs and PokerStars.net have renewed their sponsorship agreement. This agreement will allow PokerStars.net to have prime advertising locations on the rinkboards during every period of every Leafs home game this season.

This sponsorship works perfectly for PokerStars.net as the two sports are seemingly very popular within both of their target markets. Men ranging from the ages of 19-50 usually love hockey and poker, rough sports and gambling. 

PokerStars.net is the world's largest online poker school, with over 46 million members. It's the premier destination for the world's top players, with numerous tournaments running every day. PokerStars.net is renowned for offering the best software and security in the online poker world.

In order for a marketing plan to be successful the advertising much reach the target market and PokerStars.net is continuing with this advertising trend because it works. The Toronto Maple Leafs make extreme amounts of profit from these rinkside ads as one period of the game for prime location is approximately $50,000.00. With that expensive price any company who is willing to pay that must reassure if the ad will reach their market. However I'm sure MLSE doesn't mind at all who wants some prime rinkside location... as long as the cheques don't bounce. 

Daniel Negreanu, a poker superstar that is endorsed by PokerStar.net, showing his love for Canada's team.

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

TML's Social Media Marketing

Social media is rapidly becoming the largest promotional tool for anything in our world today. From Twitter to Facebook, hundreds of millions of people are logging on daily and connecting with others around the world.

Many businesses around the world have started using the benefits of social media to help push their product to their target market. Naturally professional sports teams, such as the Toronto Maple Leafs, have jumped on this social media marketing binge in order to attract more consumers.

Since the Toronto Maple Leafs target market has developed into such a broad demographic, the use of social media helps to promote their product to almost all age groups. Social media seemingly covers the age groups of 14-50. While they're still tons of consumers outside of that age category, a massive chunk of fans are being distributed this new effective marketing plan.

Like all other professional sports teams the Leafs have created Twitter and Facebook pages but they have maximized the usefulness of social media with their Leafspace. A social media hub that allows users to incorporate their own videos and connect to other users blogs and photos. This creation has created a marketing tool that allows consumers to feel incorporated within the teams activities; features such as message boards allow users to voice their opinions about trending topics.

As social media continues to evolve in our globally connected society, professional sports teams that have focused on providing fans with a social hub that allows fan-team connectivity will thrive off of the full benefits of this new marketing tool.

Thursday, 31 March 2011

End of the Teachers Reign?

The Ontario Teachers Pension Plan announced their intention to sell their majority share of MLSE. The 66% share is up for sale for about $1.3 billion to the right buyer. If this sale goes through it would be the largest deal in Canadian professional sports history.

The announcement has sparked buzz around the industry about potential buyers. The leading contenders are said to be Rogers Communications, Bell Canada, Shaw Communications, and Telus Communications.
Rogers was reported to be the front-runner back in December.

If Rogers were to claim the 66% share, they would control a massive chunk of the Toronto professional sports. Already majority owners of the Toronto Blue Jays, Rogers would grasp a umbrella consisting of all the major sports franchises in the city; Toronto Maple Leafs, Toronto Raptors, and Toronto FC. This ownership would enable Rogers to have a massive advantage in Canadian sports broadcasting. Rogers Sportsnet would skyrocket and challenge Canada's sports broadcasting leader, TSN.

Not only would Rogers Communications benefit from this massive investment, but I believe the fans that follow the franchises of the MLSE will also benefit from this potential deal. Rogers Communications is a massive corporation that puts an enormous amount of focus on sports. They have proven their willingness to give sports consumers the best product on the field through their running of the Toronto Blue Jays. They increased the salary cap to give the team more of a chance against the high payroll teams such as the Yankees and Red Sox.

The fans of MLSE franchises will also be beneficiary's of this purchase because they will have an owner that is committed to having winning sports teams. Leafs nation has been crying out for years on the removal of the Ontario Teachers Pension Plan. Toronto Maple Leafs fans realized the lack of commitment the Teachers had for the success on the ice.

Now a change in ownership won't magically change the Toronto Maple Leafs into perennial Stanley Cup contenders. However this past NHL season saw a team do exactly that. The Buffalo Sabres were purchased by Terry Pegula and ever since the arrival of the new owner the team has been on fire.

Who is to say that won't happen to the Maple Leafs for a true change at the source of the franchise could ignite new enthusiasm in the organization. Whatever the case, no matter who the owner of this historic franchise is; the fans want on ice results.

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

The Marketing of Hope

Ever since the start of the post lockout era of the NHL, the Toronto Maple Leafs franchise has failed to make the post-season. This franchise continues today to be one of the most successful franchises in the league. Lucky for the MLSE, the Toronto Maple Leafs fans are some of the most easily convinced and loyal fans to be found in the world.

After six straight unsuccessful seasons of not making the playoffs, the Toronto Maple Leafs continue to be a top the league in attendance and profit. This is because of the desperate loyalty by the fans of the blue and white.

MLSE recognizes the loyalty of their fans and use this to their advantage. Ownership realizes they cannot keep having subpar seasons and by not providing a winning product, the demand will eventually decline. However instead of panicking, MLSE focuses on marketing hope.

Throughout the years, fans have called the reason for the failure in their team due to management or coaching. They blame these positions as the true source for their teams failure. MLSE markets hope by hiring management and coaches with experience and excellent reputations.

First they hired an up and coming coach begged for by the media and fans. This man was Paul Maurice. He did everything he was expected to as a coach, but failed to take the team to the playoffs. The fans eventually called for the head of John Ferguson Jr. A general manager who made many questionable decisions is believed to be a prime reason for the Leafs post-season drought. This man was fired and an interim general manager, named Cliff Fletcher, was hired. He promised to select a new general manager and coaching staff that would bring championships to Toronto.

He hired a coach who has placed himself amongst the leaders of wins by coaches in the NHL. This man was Ron Wilson. A coach who had more experience than anyone you could ask for, and his track record supported his reputation. Along with the hiring of Wilson, came his best friend Brian Burke. Fletcher hired Burke about a year and a half ago and promised to bring the Toronto Maple Leafs to the playoffs.
However as I still am a fan of the Toronto Maple Leafs I can assure that this promise has not been fulfilled. The leafs are currently sitting four points out of the final playoff position and mathematically their chances of claiming that spot are highly unlikely. Brian Burke and Ron Wilson receive constant criticism daily by the media and fans for their lack of success with the franchise. The media and fan base question the future of the team and whether they are even heading in the right direction.

The Toronto Maple Leafs continuous failure to the make the playoffs for seemingly seven straight years causes one to wonder how on earth does the MLSE continue to profit so massively with a disastrous product? It's simple. They have recognized that their target market is loyal corporate fans that pay top dollar to see their team supposedly develop into seasonal Stanley Cup contenders. That is what makes MLSE's marketing so successful, they sell hope to their loyal fans. By hiring management and coaching positions requested by the fans, it allows Toronto Maple Leafs faithful to believe that they will eventually  become a winning franchise again.
Until the Leafs nation realizes that the MLSE only meet the wishes of the fans in order to keep them faithful to the team, the playoffs will not be MLSE's top priority. At the end of it all MLSE only cares about profiting and keeping a loyal paying market.