The Mississauga Power of the National Basketball League of Canada (NBL) have been sponsoring part of the Toronto Raptors television broadcast this season. When I first saw this sponsorship, I was very surprised. First, because one would have to assume that a team in the NBL can’t have an extremely large advertising budget. Second, it is strange to see a bumper spot that isn’t Ford, Sprite, or a traditional brand advertiser. However, in terms of media buys for an NBL team based in Ontario, the Mississauga Power have really done well here.
I will preface this praise of The Power by saying I do not know how much they paid for that bumper spot. Additionally, as I have not been to a Mississauga Power game, I do not know if it is contra advertising. Assuming that it was paid for as a traditional transaction, it is perfect. Based on the ratings of Raptors games, the only people watching are certainly a closer follower of basketball than somebody who would watch say a Miami Heat game. In addition to this, one could assume more people who watch Raptors games live in Ontario. Thus, this advertising buy hits a few key metrics. First, is the message relevant to the audience? Yes. People watching basketball on TV (especially Raptors basketball) would prefer to see it live. Second, can the end user reasonably respond to the call to action? Yes again, as we assume they live in Ontario.
The other part of media selection and advertising is the opportunity cost of it. No brand can do 100% of the media opportunities that are presented to them. The Mississauga Power would probably love to be on SportsCentre advertising, or on The National. Budget would probably limit this. The Power also would probably like to do tons of out of home, and obviously digital display advertising is something that could reach their audience and bring fans right into their sales funnel. However, this television media buy, is kind of perfect. It also makes me wonder if this may be the type of advertising that is ahead of its time.
As I have discussed before, we are about to enter the golden age of sports content publishing. Every league will have its own over the top style service. There will be tons of regional sports networks, and just tons of places to watch whatever sport you want. This will create a huge amount of advertising inventory. This increase in supply should cause the price of these advertising to go down. Thus, making television cheaper to be on, albeit a less effective medium due to fragmentation. However, in cases like the Mississauga Power, that fragmentation makes it even better. As there is less spill.
So what groups are able to take advantage of this instantly? Any other minor league team with seats to fill and limited labor or cash resources. Junior hockey teams, university teams, and fringe sports teams could all immediately identify some television opportunities that didn’t exist a few years ago. A sound digital marketing strategy would sell tickets, however the costing model and amount of labor this could require make it unattractive. What the Power have done, is find a medium that hits the majority of their core business at a reasonable price and one would have to assume this small campaign is providing a sound return.
When you watch a sporting event next, look at some of the groups interacting on the entry level ad units. There are groups there that will make you scratch your head. Then there are groups like The Power, who have a savvy media planner who understands their market, and is reaching the right audience.