Mike Spicer, Associate Partner & Snow Sports Canada Account Lead
In early 2013, Canada’s seven national ski and snowboard organizations combined forces to create Snow Sports Canada, a powerful marketing engine designed to connect with consumers, drive partnership and fuel growth for all members of the group. Two years later, several national team snowboard and freestyle ski athletes joined select media in Whistler to announce the launch of a new competitive platform, the Snow Sports Canada Cup.
For Snow Sports Canada, the challenge in building the value proposition for partners amidst a group of seven individual organizations lies in finding unique themes, assets or platforms that are uniform across all sports. The one major pillar that all teams share is competition. All seven organizations have world class athletes competing internationally, winning events and continually evolving their respective sports. In fact, collectively, Snow Sports Canada’s athletes won twelve medals at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games. At present over two hundred athletes compete only within the confines of their specific snow sport discipline, be it Moguls, Super G or Ski Jumping. The Cup was designed specifically to pit those athletes against one another in a friendly competition, by levelling the playing field regardless of sport or discipline. The fight for the cash prize will see snowboarders go up against skiers, moguls athletes compete versus aerials experts, all while creating compelling stories, and inspiring a little cross-sport camaraderie/rivalry and fan engagement.
With hundreds of athletes and events feeding a simple points system, content will reign supreme. It is this content, be it the results or the human interest components, which will drive interest from the enormous community of recreational snow sport participants in this country. Fans will be able to leverage features such as interactive leaderboards or athlete forums, which will in-turn connect brands with meaningful, high-value points of engagement. When launched in full for the 2015-16 season, The Cup will also include a web platform providing consumers with a single hub for everything related to The Cup and their favourite athletes.
At present, individual sports have their respective niche communities of fans and followers. The Cup will be the difference maker, bringing this rich mix of personalities and their followings to a common ground – creating a centralized platform that can be leveraged by fans and sponsors alike. Rather than the community that typically only gathers every four years to celebrate the Olympics, The Cup will create one united snow sports community. This will have the added benefits of engaging the more casual fans of the sports as well as assist in developing the next generation of stars vital to the growth of the sports in the long term.
As a marketer, it’s a simple proposition, raise the consumer relevance of a property and you raise the value to potential partners. If your audience is engaged, passionate and interactive, the opportunity exists for strategic partners to augment that experience and provide enhanced value to the audience while simultaneously building their own brand value – win, win. With The Cup fans, athletes and brands all have the opportunity to participate together authentically. I, for one, can’t wait to see all the different rivalries develop, from siblings Darcy versus Cassie Sharpe to ski cross versus snowboardcross, let the competition begin!
Check out some media coverage about the Cup so far.
Who Is Canada’s Top Snow Sports Athlete?
Magee Walker, 33 MAG
Gary Kingsont, The Vancouver Sun