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CFL Marketing Plan 2013


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Completed for Commissioner, Mark Cohon. The document contains multiple strategies that aim to widen the CFL's core demographic and provide a new base for sustained growth.

Published in: Business, Sports

CFL Marketing Plan 2013

  1. 1. MARKETINGPLAN 2013
  2. 2. CFL 2013 CONTENTS1 Executive Summary3 Background4 Company Description5 Strategic Focus & Plan7 Situational analysis8 SWOT Analysis10 Industry Analysis10 Competitor Analysis11 Customer Analysis12 Product-Market Focus13 Marketing & Product Objectives16 Target Markets17 Points of Difference & Positioning18 Marketing Program19 Product & Pricing Strategy20 Promotion Strategy23 Distribution Strategy24 Implementation Plan29 Appendices
  3. 3. CFL 2013 Executive summary For over one hundred years the CFL has been a national institution supported by fiercely1 loyal fans. It is a testament to the power of consumer loyalty that the league has survived. The Grey Cup has consistently been one of the greatest rivalries in professional sport and remains unchallenged as Canada’s most watched sporting event. But sometime in the late eighties and early nineties, as sports marketing began to evolve into a serious business, the CFL got sidetracked and failed to keep pace with other evolving sports leagues. Unfortunately, their loyal fan base is aging; as a result their support is depleting. Moreover, the years of struggle has created a gap in fan support from the 35+ generation to the 18-34 years of age consumers. A new generation of fans must be attracted to the CFL in order for it to capitalize on recent success and continue to grow. The 100th Grey Cup (2012) was the most successful Grey Cup to date. It was clear that Canadians embraces the Grey Cup like never before, making the 100th edition of the game an undeniable success for the CFL and all it’s platforms that supported the game and its surrounding activities. Overall, more than 13 million Canadians , or more than one in three Canadians, tuned in to watch some or all of Sunday nights broadcast on TSN and RDS. This amount matches the number of Canadians who watch the Super Bowl; an important milestone for Canadian football history. The festivities and marketing and community initiatives that surrounded the 100th Grey Cup was more extensive than ever. They increased involvement and pride towards the league and it’s cup. Mark Cohon, Commissioner of the CFL, stated that "tradition dictates that only the Grey Cup Champion Toronto Argonauts can hoist our iconic trophy above their heads, but so many Canadians wrapped their arms around the Grey Cup and lifted our league up in this historic year, [the] television ratings are a testament to that fact, the strength of our league, and the love Canadians have for the Grey Cup." It is essential for the CFL to utilize current interest to spark substantial growth. This report provides a marketing strategy that will be pivotal in growing the CFL’s fan base and creating sustained support. Sincerely yours, Matt McGarva, Team Member
  4. 4. CFL 2013 Executive Summary 2Tyler Compton, Team MemberDonato Cerino, Team MemberMichael Nasser, Team Member
  5. 5. 3 : background
  6. 6. CFL 2013 Company descriptionThe Canadian Football League (CFL) is a the best records in their division, except if the 4professional sports league located in Canada. It is fourth place team in one division has a bettera form of gridiron football which is very similar to record than the third place team in the otherAmerican football and is also the highest level of division, compete in the league’s three-weekcompetition in Canadian football. The CFL is divisional playoffs. The playoffs end with twocomprised of eight teams located in eight different teams playing in the late-November Grey Cupcities. The teams who participate in the CFL championship which is Canada’s largest annualinclude the BC Lions, Edmonton Eskimos, Calgary sports and television event. Last season was theStampeders, Saskatchewan Roughriders, Winnipeg CFL’s 100th Grey Cup which was also the mostBlue Bombers, Hamilton Tiger-Cats, Toronto successful in CFL history as far as television ratings,Argonauts, and Montreal Alouettes. Ottawa will corporate sponsorship, and ticket sales. Thebe joining the league in 2014. Teams are divided momentum following the 100th Grey Cup willinto two divisions, East and West, with four teams likely translate into increased interest in the 2013in each division. Each team plays 18 games with season and seasons to come, but in order for theone bye week in the CFL’s 19 week regular season translation to occur, a strategic marketing plan willthat runs from late June to early November. After have to be implemented to ensure continualthe regular season is over, the three teams with growth.
  7. 7. CFL 2013 Strategic focus & plan5 a. Mission due to the saturated number of other professional sport options for fans. The fact We join our fans, business partners and that the 100th Grey Cup was played in communities in strengthening traditions and pride. Toronto, and won by the Toronto Argonauts, We set the standard of excellence in Canadian will likely help in increasing popularity in football. Southern Ontario. The CFL has made it a b. Goals priority to significantly increase popularity in Southern Ontario because there is such a big 1. The goals that the CFL seeks to reach are as market that the CFL cannot ignore the follows: potential. 2. Coast to coast, the CFL strives to increase total 7. In order to improve brand image, the CFL teams fan base. have decided to invest in brand new stadiums and stadium renovations. Winnipeg will be 3. Each CFL team and the CFL as a whole, seeks to opening a new stadium in 2013, Hamilton and maximize game attendance and viewership. Ottawa will be opening new stadiums in 2014, 4. It is becoming increasingly important for the and Saskatchewan will be opening a new CFL to attract a younger, sustainable crowd. stadium in 2017. The CFL’s goal is to be The brunt of loyal CFL fans are becoming aged successful in the openings of these brand new and will soon be unable to support their teams stadiums and capitalize on the increased which as much enthusiasm as in years past. attraction of fans due to state-of-the-art The CFL strives to turn the younger generations facilities. into loyal fans to created sustained long term 8. The CFL continually strives to sell out national growth. Grey Cup Championship games and operate 5. To some, the CFL has the negative connotation successful Grey Cup festivities surrounding the of being “bush league” when it comes to game. professional football, especially when they are c. Core Competencies and Sustainable compared to the NFL. The CFL is continually Competitive Advantage developing their brand image so that they improve positioning in consumer’s minds and Core competencies are specific factors that a attract more fans. business sees as being central to the way their company or their employees work. These factors 6. Toronto and Hamilton are among the biggest are not easy for competitors to imitate, they can markets in the CFL, yet they perform the worst be reused widely for many products and markets,
  8. 8. CFL 2013 strategic focus & planand they also must contribute to the end Canadians. Early in CFL history the Canadian Army 6consumer’s experienced benefits. The CFL has a and Canadian Navy created football teams thatvery broad social media presence. Social media played in the CFL, coupled by the fact that the CFLinformation through all major outlets is timely, has been around for over 100 years, this createsinformative and even entertaining. Their Web site strong emotional ties with Canadian very up-to-date and creates a strong online The CFL has an extensive loyal fan base that hasreputation for the CFL. Web page layouts are brought long-term consistent revenue stream. Thesimple and very interactive. The attraction of the CFL has recently reached an $80 millionCFL websites and team websites build their brand agreement with TSN that sees them beingimage. The deal that the CFL has with TSN creates exclusively broadcasted nation-wide in Canada.strong reach within Canada since TSN shows allCFL games, and broadcasts coast to coast. In2007, Mark Cohon was brought in as the CFL’scommissioner. Mark Cohon has been able toincrease the CFL’s attendance, television ratings,achieve record numbers in corporate agreements,and excel in improving the CFL’s image. Lastly, theCFL has a very strong scheduling strategy (June-November) that sees them avoid competition withthe NHL for most of the season and only competewith the NFL for two months. Although theyoverlap for two months, during that time the NFLis just beginning while the CFL is growing close toplayoffs and games are increasingly important; thisallows them to retain major viewership.When a business has a sustainable competitiveadvantage, the business enjoys a long-termadvantage that is not easily duplicable orsurpassable by their competitors. The CFL has thesustainable competitive advantage of being thesole professional football league in Canada. TheCFL is the oldest professional football league, thusthey have the attraction of a storied history andare very well established amongst middle aged
  9. 9. 7 : situational ANALYSIS
  10. 10. CFL 2013 SWOT ANALYSISThe Canadian Football league is the largest all time making the Canadian Football League the 8professional sports league in Canada with eight strongest it has been in the last two franchises; which is one more than theNational Hockey League. The total number of Although the CFL is coming off its most successfulfranchises in the CFL will be increased by one in season in many years, there are still weaknesses2014, with Ottawa re-entering the league for the that hinder the CFL’s brand image. There are nothird time. If the CFL wants to have a strong teams outside of Canada, and the CFL is a small league in terms of overall franchise numbers. WithCanadian brand and build its overall leaguestructure, they need a team in the capital city of the CFL season consisting of only eight teams withCanada. The CFL represents the highest level of a nineteen-week season (18 games played with afootball played in Canada and does not directly bye week), the teams play each other too often,compete with any other professional football thereby diminishing the entertainment value of regular season games. The CFL is not consideredleague in Canada. One of the CFL’s strengths isthat its cap on a per-game basis is around one of the four major North American professional$500,000 ($4.3 million divided by nine home sports leagues, which ranks as the NFL, NBA, MLB,games); which is less than a third of the NHL’s, and NHL. Compared to the four major professionalwhich stands at around $1.5 million per game sports leagues, the CFL’s broadcasting, promotion, and advertisement has less production value and($64 million divided by 41 home games). Also,franchises in the CFL do not have to contend with pales in comparison to larger leagues.issues related to the exchange rate the way The CFL has capitalized on many opportunities inCanadian NHL, NBA and MLB teams have to. The the last five years to grow the game and increaseCFL has a strong management system in place lead its brand awareness. The “Our History. Ourby Commissioner Mark Cohon, who since taking House” multimedia campaign helped sell moreover in 2007 has revitalized the CFL’s brand image season tickets than ever in the history of theand increased game attendance throughout the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, a record of 21,155,league. In terms of overall television ratings, sports showing that fans are still extremely interested inviewership of the CFL ranks second in Canada CFL football in the prairie provinces. Also, in 2011behind only the National Hockey League ratings. the BC Lions set record attendance and receivedOn average, more than 700,000 viewers tune in to marketing awards for their “Pride of All BC”each CFL game, representing a five percent campaign. These examples show immenseincrease from 2011, including a growth of over marketing opportunities to create an emotional tie50% among male viewers age 18 to 34. The 2012 with the province or city and their team. From theseason was the CFL’s most successful yet, and the Saskatchewan Roughriders new stadium targetedGrey Cup was the most watched event on TSN of for play in 2017, to new stadiums and facilities for
  11. 11. CFL 2013 SWOT ANalysis9 Winnipeg, Hamilton and Ottawa including the BC NFL is a threat to the CFL similar to how Wal-Mart Lions’ recently renovated BC Place, the many is a threat being the big box store looming over league-wide stadium developments account for the mom and pop operation. It is obvious that the more than $1 billion in Canadian infrastructure CFL must find a way to become more than just a projects. The CFL exhibits large opportunity to little brother league to the NFL. Another main grow because they have discrepancies subject to threat to the CFL success is the cluttered markets improvement, and there exists opportunity to in the highest populated areas of Toronto, expand their markets. The CFL has a history in Vancouver and Montreal. These markets are hard Ottawa. The Ottawa Rough Riders called the to capture because there is so much distraction Canadian capital home for more than a decade and choices for entertainment satisfaction, and until 1996. From 2002 to 2005, the Ottawa they are so diverse. Southern Ontario poses the Renegades were the second coming of football in greatest potential; however, but Toronto held the the city. They’re hoping the third time is the CFL’s weakest attendance ratings the last few charm. Since partnering with TSN in 2007, CFL years. Additionally, the Hamilton market was the viewership has more than doubled, while the second lowest attendance rating, proving that the league believes opportunities remain for further CFL needs to expand interest in the southern audience growth as well. The CFL just signed a Ontario region. new exclusive $80 million deal with TSN giving them full coverage of the CFL year round. Another region of Canada that may be feasible for CFL presence is Atlantic Canada, where the CFL has played Touchdown Atlantic games in Moncton and received excellent fan support and viewership. The biggest threat to the CFL is the attraction of the National Football League. Today’s male, between 18 and 45, needs a hook to be attracted to a sport, and since the NFL already has bigger, stronger, and faster on the CFL, they are hard-pressed to create attractive differentiation. The
  12. 12. CFL 2013 Industry analysisAt the heart of professional sports market in popularity can be attributed to trickle down 10Canada are the fans, fans that are fuelled by deep advertising being superbly crafted by the NFL andemotional attachment to their team. What follows its marketers. Even soccer has carved out athis intense emotional attachment is brand loyalty, seemingly sustainable audience in the CanadianCanadian’s are unique in that their brand loyalty to market, after two false starts the professionalsports franchises stand the tests of time and the soccer league MLS is also following an upwardemotional roller-coaster they ride with every win or growth path. Professional Lacrosse, our nation’sloss. official summer sport is not left out of the spotlight and has had its share of mainstreamThe Canadian professional sports market is also success in recent years, that league (NLL) has threeprone to intense regional and national celebrations teams from three separate Canadian cities.and mourning following high-profile victories like Ultimately, whatever the league or level,the Gold Medal hockey game against the United Canadians have long had a rich mix of professionalStates at the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Games, and sports events from which to choose.closer to the chest; the devastating loss felt bySaskatchewan Roughriders fans during the 2009 Although professional sports franchises areGrey Cup. This emotion of fan support can sustain seemingly in a continuous state of change. Canadaa team in the short term. But, with few exceptions is home to seven NHL franchises, eight CFL(Toronto Maple Leafs), economic forces rule over franchises, one MLB franchise, one NBA franchise,the long-term and a franchise must be at its core a three MLS franchises and three NLL franchises.financially viable business. The market alsofeatures another economic layer; the socio- While some of these franchises are not-for-profiteconomic impact of a franchise on the entities and as such do not nor are they required to; share their information. This is especially truesurrounding community, and the impact franchisescan have at the grassroots level with a well with the CFL, however sufficient data wasrounded community engagement program. gathered to calculate the size of the professional sports market in Canada. Starting at the top,There are numerous professional sports leagues estimated revenues and profitability for theand teams operating in Canada, but none are Toronto Maple Leafs are $187 million and $85.7more popular that the nation’s favourite official million respectively, both the Toronto Blue Jayspass time; Hockey. Professional football, baseball, and the Toronto Raptors have respectableand basketball do however still earn a generous revenues in the mid $100 million range andaudience across Canada. Professional football and operating incomes that hover around $15 million.subsequently the CFL especially are currently in a Fuelling these revenues are game attendees, forquick and steady growth trend. This new found which Canadian teams perform admirably with
  13. 13. CFL 2013 Industry analysis11 NHL teams like the Montreal Canadiens and Canada are more than just entertainment. Moving Toronto Maple Leafs averaging near 20,000 forward we will see how the industry is shaken up attendees per regular season game. Both revenues with the re-introduction of a CFL franchise to and attendance are above average compared to Ottawa, making that team the 9th in the league. franchises south of the border. Thank you to the Conference Board of Canada for When it comes to the CFL, profitability and their contribution to this analysis. revenues are a harder task to reveal, but combining the revenues and profitability of the leagues three “community-owned” teams; the Saskatchewan Roughriders that despite their lowest city population, consistently sell out games, and earn more merchandising revenues than all other CFL franchises combined. Last year that team reported a profit of $3.8 million and revenues near $32 million. Representative of their relative popularity, the Edmonton Eskimos and the Winnipeg BlueBombers netted a profit of $637k, $3 million and revenues of $17.6 million each respectively. From these numbers we can surmise two things the CFL generates between $120 million and $150 million in revenue (varying significantly across teams) annually, and contribute just over $2 million to each team every year, which has risen approximately 6% over 2011. The CFL is also a revenue generating force for cities as well, as numbers indicate hosting cities of major events like the Grey Cup and the World Junior Hockey Championships translate to $80 million in economic activity. These numbers combine to give us an approximate value for the Canadian professional sports market, the industry generates at a minimum $1.5 billion annually, indicating that emotion aside, sports in
  14. 14. CFL 2013 competitor analysisThe CFL’s main competitors, in terms of environment, although lessened, is present in 12professional sports, are the National Football other major Canadian markets with CFL franchises.League (NFL) and the National Hockey League(NHL). The NFL is the only other football leaguethat is viewed in Canada, other than NCAA andCIS college football. The CFL is a lower-tier leagueto the NFL similar to the way the AHL is a second-tier league to the NHL, except that the NFL andCFL have little affiliation with each other. The NFLraked in nearly $10 billion during the 2012 season,making it the most profitable sports league in theworld, with all thirty-two of its franchises crackingthe Top Fifty Richest Sports Teams in the world.Many players try to use the CFL as a springboardto the NFL. The NHL is the next main competitor tothe CFL because they have seven teams in Canada,some of whom are in or near the same city as aCFL team. Hockey has the highest sportsspectatorship in Canada and transfers loyalty, andmoney and time commitment away from the CFL.NHL revenues were around $3.3 billion in 2012,and the NHL is the most watched sport in Canada.The NHL just went through a lockout but it seemsas though they did not lose much of, if any, oftheir fan base and has come back very well thisseason in terms of entertainment value and fanattendance. In the Toronto region alone, the CFL(Toronto Argonauts) competes with Major LeagueBaseball (Toronto Blue Jays), National HockeyLeague (Toronto Maple Leafs), American HockeyLeague (Toronto Marlies), National BasketballAssociation (Toronto Raptors), National LacrosseLeague (Toronto Rock), and Major League Soccer(Toronto FC), making it one of the most clutteredsports markets in all of North America. This
  15. 15. CFL 2013 customer analysis13 The CFL has two main types of customers, the fan viewership over the course of a few years. 35-60 years of age loyal Canadian football fans, With the building of new stadiums in Hamilton, and the 34 years and younger generation who are BC, Saskatchewan, and Winnipeg, and a new attracted to the fame and excitement of the game. team in Ottawa in 2014, the CFL will see a big The CFL needs to capitalize on four boundaries boost in fan attendance and overall market share, when attracting a new audience, which consists of especially in its weakest, but highest capacity awareness, attraction, attachment, and allegiance. market of Southern Ontario. For more on It takes time for fans to grow a love for a team customer analysis please refer to the “Target and sport so the CFL needs to slowly develop new Markets” section on page 18.
  16. 16. 14 :Product-market focus
  17. 17. CFL 2013 Marketing & Product Objectives15 In accordance with the goals of the CFL, the dollars on team merchandising and game weaknesses existing, and the opportunities concessions. available, it is proposed that the following objectives can be obtained through marketing The current home attendance average between recommendations: Calgary, Hamilton and Winnipeg is 27,457. In achieving a 13% increase, the average attendance 1. Increase the multi-game attendance league between these three teams will reach over 31,000 average amongst Canada’s second tier (, 2012). In comparison to 2012 metropolitan areas by 13% for regular season statistics, this would situate these franchises 3rd games, by targeting both male and female amongst all CFL teams; behind only Edmonton young adults (18-35 years of age). Eskimos and Saskatchewan Roughriders. The marketing initiatives do not advocate for particular Second tier markets is defined as those cities that teams, but it is believed it the greatest affect will have existing CFL franchises, are relatively dense in be accomplished in the second tier markets due to terms of population, exhibit moderately low their marker conditions, and existing of excess distractions from other sports teams or capacity. Edmonton and Saskatchewan currently entertainment outlets, have a considerable amount have the two strongest loyal fan bases, and the of blue-collared individuals, and only moderate fan teams have strong presence amongst consumer’s loyalty. These cities include Calgary, Hamilton and minds; thus, marketing initiatives will have lesser Winnipeg. In terms of home average attendance immediate impact because their potential fan base for 2012, these teams rank 4th, 5th, and 6th, is saturated, and stadiums have less excess respectively. When balancing the effects of capacity to be utilized. If more teams can population potential and the amount of distraction withstand strong attendance and loyal away from CFL football, the above teams pose commitment by fans, likewise to Edmonton and huge potential for growth in loyal fan base. Also, Saskatchewan, the CFL would grow substantially. the capacity percentages are low for these markets’ stadium venues, so increased attendance 2. Increase Game-Day/Walk-Up ticket sales by at is allowable within existing unfilled capacity. The least 7% in Canada’s most dense markets highest league-wide average attendance in CFL (Vancouver, Toronto, and Montreal) by history was in 1978, many of these loyal fans are increasing awareness through communicating growing older and their attendance is decreasing; CFL games as an easy, affordable and exciting the younger generation needs to be targeted to entertainment outlet for white-collared young rejuvenate a depleting fan base and ultimately professionals. increase overall attendance. Additionally, this Tier one markets, Toronto, Montreal and younger demographic typically spends more Vancouver have the highest population amongst
  18. 18. CFL 2013 marketing & product objectivesCanadian cities. Along with this, brings the highest There are CFL fans across all parts of Canada, 16potential for fan base growth in terms of numbers. United States and even some overseas. This can beUnfortunately, converting citizens in these cities seen by attendance statistics from the 2007 Greyinto loyal CFL fans will be extremely difficult due to Cup in Toronto, where every province wascorresponding lifestyles, sociocultural preferences, represented for share of attendance, including 680and predominantly the presence of other sports spectators from the U.S. and 160 from overseasteams and entertainment outlets to gain their (Canadian Sport Tourism Alliance, 2008). Pleaseinterest and commitment. The marketing initiatives refer to Appendix 2.0 for 2007 Grey Cup numbers.will focus on attracting young professionals in Since 2007 the CFL has grown substantially, withthese cities to casually attend CFL games because increase spectatorship, viewership, corporateit’s an entertainment option that is affordable in sponsorship and merchandising. Therefore thecomparison to other professional sports potential to attract new CFL fans to view CFL onalternatives, easily accessible, and exciting. By TSN games exists, especially across the southernencouraging young professionals to attend, this provinces and Atlantic Canada. Moreover, now iswill likely translate to future interest and an the opportunistic time to capitalize on the successemotional tie to our country’s game. and increased interest resulting from the 100th Grey Cup. Last season (2012) the averageBy increasing Game-Day/Walk-Up tickets sales by viewership across all 48 CFL games was 729,9167% for the BC Lions, Toronto Argonauts, and (, 2012); which is actually down fromMontreal Alouettes, the total of the averages the average of 807,000 in 2010 (The Globe andbetween all three teams would reach upwards to Mail, 2010).82,000 attendees. Currently (from 2012 statistics)the total of the average attendance between the A 37% increase in nation-wide viewershipthree teams is 76,501 (, 2012). The accounts for an increased average of 729,916 tostadium venues for these tier one markets have 1,000,000. The potential for this increase isconsiderable excess capacity when compared to available. The fan support from 18-34 years olds2012 averages; thus, there is plenty of room for has been consistently growing from 2007, and lastGame-Day ticket sales growth, without impacting year`s Grey Cup produced a 38% increase inseason ticket holder opportunities. For attendance attendance and viewership amongst this agestatistics please refer to Appendix 1.0. group (, 2012). These younger viewers’ interest is at an all-time high, this interest can be3. Increase regular season television viewership for translated into a significant increase in viewership CFL on TSN broadcasts across all Canadian for the 2013 and 2014 regular season. Moreover, markets, even those who do not have CFL in 2010 2.54 million viewed the West Final and 2.3 teams, by 37% over the next two seasons. million viewed the East Final; this shows that
  19. 19. CFL 2013 marketing & product objectives17 interest exists among Canadians but the interest 4. Increase the brand image to overcome negative needs to be attracted for regular season. Also, the connotations related to CFL’s league average TV audience for the 100th Grey Cup was reputation. 5.8 million (28% increase from 99th Grey Cup) and overall 13 million Canadians tunes in at some Many refer to the CFL as a “Ma and Pa operation” point during the game, this equals 1 in 3 or “a bush league”, which is something that may Canadians (, 2012). Only, 20% of the distract young adult’s attraction away from the CFL. The CFL has made significant strides to 729,916 regular season average was from 18-34 year olds; however, there are roughly 8.9 million overcome this, and have improved the Canadians currently within that age range professionalism and prestige over the last decade. (Canadian Demographics Profile, 2013). Still, the ideology of some Canadian’s is stuck in Enormous potential for audience growth exists, the past, and they are unaware of recent improvements. The CFL must continue its especially with the 18-34 years of age sector; marketing initiatives must be in accordance with progression, and make steps to ensure they are this. seen as high class professional football with prestige in Canada.
  20. 20. CFL 2013 target marketsCurrently, the majority of the CFL fan base is ages 6-13 in areas with CFL teams, and 18-24 year 18primarily 35-60 years of age males, with low to old male and females across Canada, withmedium level of income, and blue-collared emphasis in metro areas and cities with CFL teams.occupancy. Also, the CFL has developed a strong In targeting the 6-13 year old elementary children,relationship with small business owners who have we are striving to educate children of the CFL andyoung families and a little above average income increase the awareness of the CFL in their mindsin Canada. These segments have proven loyal, starting from a young age. This won’t specificallywith no signs of slowing, regardless of marketing look to gain direct sales but initiatives will plant aefforts. Increased return resulted from positioning seed so that the CFL is part of their life as aGrey Cup festivities and activities to a younger Canadian throughout maturity. This awareness willcrowd, with no attrition from the loyal fan base. increase demand for family attendance, andWhen analysing the CFL, Cheri Bradish, professor translate into viewership and attendance whenof sports management at Brock University, stated these children grow into the second target marketthat although you are first and foremost of 18-34 year olds. In targeting 18-34 youngconcerned with your core fans, promotional efforts professionals we look to increase interest andand entertainment value are more important for pride; ultimately through contributing to overallattracting fans and appealing to the next spectatorship of the CFL. It is believed that bygeneration that is teetering on the fringes. shifting the focus to make the CFL relevant to Canadians at a younger age, this pride in theThat being said, marketing strategies will focus on league and its history will carry through adulthoodtargeting two new segments: active boys and girls and family life.
  21. 21. CFL 2013 points of difference & positioning19 In terms of differentiation from competing University at centre field; no Montreal Alouettes professional sports leagues and other logo is present, not even in the end zones. To entertainment alternatives, this marketing strategy increase their image, Montreal should put more will create increased relationships between players emphasis on branding Percival Molson Memorial and their team’s community. Additionally our Stadium as their home. Additionally, the Calgary strategy will communicate the CFL’s elaborately Stampeders should follow the same protocol and storied history; something unmatched by other increase their branding of McMahon Stadium; leagues. taking precedence over the University of Calgary in order to be respected as the higher level of As far as differentiation form current operations, football that the CFL is. This same power approach this marketing strategy will focus on improving should be taken when making sponsorship and brand image to create higher-class perception. bargaining agreements, because the CFL has great Much of this upgrade will result from current plans reach and high exposure rates for corporate for new stadium infrastructure across almost half advertisements. the league. New stadium upgrades are in progress for Hamilton, Winnipeg and Ottawa, with Positioning Saskatchewan renovations planned to be completed by 2017 season. Similar to that of the This marketing strategy focuses on positioning the CFL as a patriotic community that is proud to be new BC Place Stadium, these new stadium upgrades will be state-of-the-art; resulting in the center of emotional entertainment in Canada higher-class facilities. Moreover, by bringing the during the summer months and early winter. CFL back to the nation’s capital, this will increase the brand image by providing increased income in one of the most lucrative Canadian markets. It is recommended that the CFL minimize the amount of play in Canadian Interuniversity Spot (CIS) stadiums, because it has potential to tarnish this upgraded image. Also, the CFL should take a stance and have increased respect for their football prestige in Canada by having teams take increased ownership of their fields, instead of them being branded under a CIS school’s name. For example, Percival Molson Memorial Stadium, home of the Montreal Alouettes, is only branded by McGill
  22. 22. 20 :marketing program
  23. 23. CFL 2013 product & Pricing strategy21 Product Strategy Furthermore, what works in one market may not necessarily work in all, so the mandated programs The marketing strategy does not limit the CFL to a allow for some flexibility to the discretion of game of wins and losses, it looks to market a individual teams. sense of community that exhibit’s our history and our competitors nature as Canadians. Most CFL Pricing Strategy team’s currently centralize their branding and marketing efforts around pride, history and The CFL is currently an affordable alternative for exciting professional sports entertainment across inclusion; often utilizing the word OUR. It is recommended this is continued and stressed major Canadian markets. Research shows that further to reflect on the CFL’s mantra of “This Is affordability is one of the key drivers for OUR League.” It is important that the CFL as a attendance in most CFL markets, it is product is not just represented during games, but recommended to continue to let teams determine their that it is represented as an active member of the community in own price point; which fans will which has be connected shown to be through pride. relatively low in comparison Strategies will to other attempt, within sporting and constraints, to entertainment outlets. create the most Currently for 2013 season tickets (excluding club consistent product as possible. It will accomplish seating) the league average for lowest priced this by increasing the CFL’s involvement into the seating is $241.63, for middle priced seating its marketing of individual teams and ensuring each $457.38, and for highest priced seating it’s team implements certain initiatives. These $764.88. These prices situate CFL games well in initiatives are ones which have proven successful comparison to other sports’ season tickets. for individual teams in their respective areas, and Additionally, pricing for merchandising will remain will be mandated for all CFL teams to implement the same. Once, and only if, substantial and these ventures. Although there will be increased continual growth is established and the overall involvement, management will remain minimal image of the CFL enhanced, then ticket prices can because each market is so diverse and each team’s rise minimally; however, tickets must remain marketing department understands their social affordable on a per-game basis compared to NFL culture and competitive environment. or NHL.
  24. 24. CFL 2013 promotional strategyAfter the most successful Grey Cup to date, this is Winnipeg vs. Toronto, get your tickets today at 22the opportunistic time where there exists the” Other scenarios where the commercial’sgreatest amount of interest surrounding the CFL. character will cheer excessively is when they getThis increase in monetary resources and interest stopped by a train then “boo”, make a big scene,can be capitalized on though implementing a and complain in a way you would dispute apromotional blitz in order to use momentum and referee’s call. The character starts hitting theirbuild the total fan base. This marketing strategy steering wheel, this makes the airbag deploy inconsists of 4 parts. their face. This commercial will end similarly to the first. A final example is two friends who are youngNational Commercials adults are fresh off of a completed NHL season,First, national commercials will be run on networks bored, and playing chess because they have noother than TSN. These commercials will focus on other entertainment options during mid-June,increasing awareness and excitement for the start when one friend wins, he celebrates excessively.of the CFL season. The commercials will target The commercial will then end similar to the above18-34 year old adults who are experiencing a lag examples, reminding the characters that the CFLof entertainment concluding the NHL season. As season is right around the corner. The purpose ofof now, no CFL commercials are advertised on this commercial is to build interest around the CFLnetworks other than TSN; thus, a limited and increase awareness of a new season starting.demographic is subject to promotions for CFL The commercial that will run on TSN will focus ongames. Although commercials will broadcast on communicating the history of the game, buildingother networks, they will also be broadcasted on excitement and creating a sense of pride. TheTSN to target many sports fans. However, the commercial will be very similar to the promotionalcommercial to be aired on TSN will be different video from the “This Is OUR League” campaign inthan that of other networks. 2008. The purpose of this commercial is to buildCommercials on other networks will showcase excitement within all sports fans, and provideindividuals cheering excessively over minor incentive for them to attend the next CFL game orscenarios in their everyday life, such as getting a at least watch it on television; something they maycandy bar un-stuck from a vending machine. After not have been inclined to otherwise do. Manythe character and their friends cheer ecstatically, young sports fans are unaware of the history andthe commercial will then say “need something to diversity of the CFL, this advertisement willcheer about? You belong in the stands.” The educate them increase their attention to the CFL.scene will then flash to them in the stands of a CFL Although running a national television campaigngame cheering, and the commercial will say will be costly, the benefit is worth thesomething to the nature of “season starts June 12,
  25. 25. CFL 2013 promotional strategy23 commitment. In 2001 the CFL ran their “Rivalries” out that youth participation for amateur football in campaign on national TV. Following the launch, Canada is declining; resulting in less young attendance had increased significantly, there was football fans (The Globe and Mail, 2010). growth among young male viewers, and increased Encouraging young boys and girls to get involved sponsorship agreements with new partners (CFL in minor football, either through playing or Partnership Marketing Group, 2002). For the first cheerleading programs, is critical in sustaining the time, the league was recognized for its marketing next generation of CFL fans. Moreover, by having and advertising initiatives through business press, professional CFL players talk with children about three marketing awards and significant industry being active and making smart decisions, they will awards. In the first full year of the campaign, gross be attracted to the CFL and relate the players to sponsorship revenue increased by nearly 36%. being role models. All CFL teams are currently Television audience for adults 18-34 increased by involved in their community and visit schools, but an average of 45,000 viewers per game. Currently the message is not consistent and no programs the CFL has a significantly broader and stronger encourage children to join minor football. position for corporate partnerships than in 2001, Furthermore, this tour will build the brand image and has substantially higher nation-wide interest; of the CFL and its players as well as reinforce a thus, this effect should easily be replicated. critical point of difference that separates the CFL from the clutter. CFL Child Champions Tour Mandated Community Initiatives The CFL Child Champions Tour is a tour of 6 provinces (Quebec to BC) where the CFL with As mentioned in the product strategy, it is partner with amateur football organizations for recommended that the CFL mandate teams to each province, and each of the CFL’s 8 teams. The implement certain initiatives that have proven tour will include two CFL reps, two CFL players, successful. The first program that will be and one to two advocators for amateur football in mandated is for teams to run at least one sports the corresponding province. The amateur football day camp for young children, which include organizations that will be involved include Football involving other sports franchises in the community. BC, Football Alberta, Football Saskatchewan, The CFL teams will pair up with other professional Football Manitoba, Ontario Football Alliance, and sports teams in their area, specifically with the Football Quebec. The objective of the tour is to surrounding NHL franchise (with the exception of visit elementary schools across the six provinces Saskatchewan) and create a multi-sport sports day with CFL teams, promoting children to get active, that involves interacting with children through fun make smart choices, and ultimately get involved in drills and other activities. Except for Saskatchewan, amateur football. Sports marketing experts point all CFL teams have other professional teams to
  26. 26. CFL 2013 promotional strategypartner with, assuming the Toronto Maple Leafs team’s locker room in their facility. There is a 24would partner with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. In continuum to Football 101 called Football 202paring with NHL teams, children who are fans of where the women who have taken 101 will get ahockey will attend and be exposed to CFL football, chance to run through fun filled drills with theincreasing their awareness and interest in players and interact with them. Both the BC LionsCanadian football. and the Calgary Stampedes have implemented these seminars and have sold out the last threeThrough partnering with the Canucks Autism years. This is a great opportunity to educateNetwork (CAN) on March 17, 2013 the BC Lions, females on the game and create fans who willVancouver Canucks, Vancouver Whitecaps, and want to get their entire family involved.Vancouver Canadians provided fun sports activitiesfor children with autism and their parents. The Continuation of Current Projectsevent was a great success and helped increase the It is highly recommended that the CFL continue topresence of all teams involved in the minds of thechildren and their parents. One Mother strengthen their connection with the CIS in ordercommented on CAN’s Facebook page “Travis to increase interest among young adults who are[Lulay], on behalf of my little girl, thank you for already fans of football, or currently players ofbeing such a big part of what made sports day so university football. This would require the CFL to continue its extensive coverage on prospects, theawesome and memorable!” By creating reactionslike this, fan support amongst the community is CFL Canadian Draft and the Annual CIS East-Westincreased and a positive brand image is promoted. Bowl.This positive impact can be created across the Also, it is important for the CFL to extend theircountry if teams are encouraged to partner with licensing agreement with New Era hats when itsurrounding professional teams and create a sports expires January 2014. The contract should beday for young children ages 6-13. extended for another three years because it isAnother great initiative that should be essential in creating merchandising sales for theimplemented league-wide is Football 101, which is younger demographic, and increasing branda one-day course designed just for women who awareness amongst teenagers and young adults. If possible, the CFL should not focus on extendingwant to learn about the Canadian football game.The two hour seminar will be taught by players the licensing agreement with 5th and Ocean,and coaches of CFL teams who will teach women instead, focus apparel branding on Reebok athleticabout the history, rules, positions, and strategy clothing. 5th and Ocean is not a well-establishedbehind the CFL. The seminar will take place in a clothing company for youth and young adult apparel in Canada; therefore, fans would be moreclassroom setting right in the corresponding CFL inclined to purchase Reebok apparel instead.
  27. 27. CFL 2013 distribution strategy25 Distribution Strategy Increased distribution should be take place around areas where CFL teams reside, and little The CFL should continue its distribution of distribution should be focused on northern regions merchandise and ticket sales across Canadian retail of provinces. stores and shopping centres, as well as online.
  28. 28. 26 :implementation plan
  29. 29. CFL 2013 implementation plan27 The plan has within it 4 distinct initiatives, each may communicate and promote the tour to their one feeds into the other and rely on a flawless students. Internship positions will also be filled, plan of execution that allows for fluid sequential prior to 2014, and individuals must be trained and delivery. The following pages will outline the coordinated in early 2014 in preparation for the implementation process of each strategy mid-February tour start date. As these dates may individually. conflict with university semesters, co-op students will be prime candidates, especially those in CFL Child Champions Tour communications, community relations and In implementing this strategy the CFL will follow a marketing. structured and consistent plan throughout the We arrived at this tentative timeline and tour tour; however, management of the program will outline by scheduling a minimum of 3 school stops be carried out via the VP of Community per day during the tour’s time in the province, Development and supplemented with human meaning the tour should hit 30 schools in their resource input in each of the provinces. The two week stays in each province. Each school stop proposed tour would require separate human will last approximately one hour. These per day resource input in each province. This individual will visit numbers and time allocation is based upon be charged with organizing the tour, players, provincial school tours done currently executed by associations, sponsorships, and school stops. On CFL teams. Players will be paid to attend each the ground, special CFL Tour Interns will carry-out event at an average hourly rate of $200, meaning directives from the VPCD which will include hands- the tour should cost $1,200 to $1,400 per day in on support for and organization of all stakeholders player salary costs. Other costs will come in the in the tour and will travel with the players for the form of tour bus rental, and promotional wrap entire duration of the tour in their respective affixed to the bus advertising the tour and acting province. These unpaid internship positions will be as traveling billboard in between school stops and filled and vetted through LinkedIn and connections parked outside each school. Fuel costs for the tour with universities and CIS teams from each bus will be around $300 per day. province. Accommodations will be provided to CFL The duration of the tour will be approximately employees and CFL players. Also, these members three to three and a half months, starting mid- will be given a 75$ per diem flat rate per person February and ending in late May 2014. This (4). Entry in elementary schools will be relatively timeline means pre-tour organization must easy and cost little to no capital to gain access. To commence in the 4th quarter of 2013, a drafted remain consistent, tour tracksuits and uniforms will schedule of each school stop on the tour should be purchased for all attending players and will be distributed prior to 2014, so that the schools feature the tour logo prominently. To guarantee a
  30. 30. CFL 2013 implementation planlasting impression at each stop, high quality t- strategy. Through this plan, we hope the CFL can 28shirts will be given to participating students. introduce mandated community initiatives at the team level across the league. Involvement willPartnering with CFL staff and players will be depend on team dynamics and player schedules,amateur football organizations across all 6 but the importance of community involvement asprovinces (BC, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, a function of the greater grassroots campaign toOntario and Quebec). Costs for these advocators develop a stronger youth audience should be awill not be covered by the CFL, as they are topic of discussion in future collective agreements.primarily promoting enrolment into minor football The implementation of community initiatives willin respective areas. It is recommended that only be handled on a community by community basisone to two amateur football employees be with some influence coming from the CFL. Thepresent, as this will minimize their cost while still responsibility of carrying-out this initiative will restproving sufficient to communicate an effective of the community department of the individualmessage. teams. Where the CFL can provide support is inAwareness of the tour will be created primarily the area of organizing NHL team participation inthrough each schools internal marketing; which the targeted cities. These connections must bewill be supplemented by the CFL with uniform and made early to ensure the success of each team’shigh-quality promotional materials. Awareness community engagement. Scheduling of thesemay be generated secondarily by low-cost market community events will be variable, but occurspecific TSN advertisements, that feature throughout the entire year. With some directionrecognizable players announcing they are “coming from CFL management we hope the number ofto your city” and list relevant dates, times, and events will increase approaching the beginning ofschool stops. The TSN advertisement slots will be the 2014 season and that the initiatives prove aspurchased and handled at the regional level, and successful in all team’s markets as it was in theprimarily only utilized when attendance numbers initial team’s market where the idea wasare less than expected or declining. TSN generated.advertisement cost will be minimized through the Another component of the communitypartnership deal formalized in early 2013, and involvement initiative is the league-wide Footballrepresent a step towards co-promotion between 101, and 202 seminars, this will be createdthe two organizations. centrally through the CFL and distributed to eachMandated Community Initiatives team. The design will be target women. Player participation is critical to the plan, and thus whereThe CFL Child Champions Tour will complement the costs are focused. As before, the averagethe CFL’s broader community involvement hourly rate of $200 will apply, and may be partially
  31. 31. CFL 2013 implementation plan29 subsidized by the CFL. The two seminars will take Canadian Draft and annual CIS East-West Bowl; place on two consecutive days during late April or each of which require different human resource early May; this provides great timing leading up to requirements, but require no shift from current the start of season, while not impeding too closely operating practice. on pre-training camp preparations. The price for each seminar will be a single charge of $60 plus Another strategy that should remain a feature of tax, and will include a Football 101 package. The the CFL is the current licensing agreement with New Era, which is due to expire in January 2014. package consists of a Football 101 t-shirt and a ticket to a CFL home game in addition to an Contract and negotiations should be finalized by opportunity to take place in their home team’s the end of 2013, which could include travel and warm-up from the sidelines at an upcoming CFL due diligence on behalf of the CFL. This game. The females will likely use this ticket to take relationship has served the CFL well in engaging the younger demographic, but the strategy’s their families and provides opportunity to gain multiple loyal fans. The costs associated with this success ends with the hats supplied by New Era, are very minimal, outside of player payment cost, the inclusion of 5th and Ocean has not proven to because they seminars are operated out of the be beneficial, and should not be an element of the team’s own facilities and requires very little new contract. The CFL should instead focus on strengthening their relationship with Reebok the equipment and personnel. Individual teams are free to add or change any service of their seminar chief supplier of the CFL’s official wear. This to their discretion, as long as the program is still portion of the strategy will likely be handled by the present. VP of Marketing and his staff. Continuation of Current Projects National Commercials The timing and execution of the above strategies Critical to the CFL’s sustained growth moving forward is developing a strong young adult fan all serve to conclude just days prior to the base with disposable income. Interest is beginning of the CFL season in early June (June predominantly generated through existing 12, 2013). The timing of these initiatives is not a involvement in organized football, at various levels. mistake, as the final piece of our proposed strategy comes into play during the Stanley Cup Connections between the CFL and organizations like the CIS must be perpetually maintained and finals; the final cup game date varies but has continue to bear fruit. Implementation of this frequently ended in the first week of June (June portion of the strategy should continue to be 11, 2012). On this day, approximately 9.2 million carried out through promotional partnerships and Canadians are glued to their television sets, 62% of the 25-54 age demographic is watching this live include extensive coverage of prospects, the event, and due to that live nature and intense
  32. 32. CFL 2013 implementation planfocus view the commercials during the cup games immediately before the return to game preferably 30more so than any other time during the year. This as most frequently this is when fans are paying therepresents an opportune time to advertise to this most attention over the mid-point of the break. Inlarge national audience, unified in their love for this way, CBC’s national orientation andCanadian sports. The time to advertise becomes centralized broadcast of the games mean to reachmore opportune as this enormous population of the almost 10 million Canadians watching thisavid sports fan will by the end of night be without event. The commercials will be aired on TSN posta sport to follow for conceivably 4 months when Stanley cup finals, as ad space with TSN can againthe NFL season starts in September. This means be attained at a significant discount due to thethere is a demand for Canadian sports ongoing relationship between the twoentertainment during this gap, which the CFL can organizations. Also, 10 ads will be run on CTVfill. during evening weeknight television in early June. The cost for these advertisements will be less thanThe individuals charged with implementing this that of the Stanley Cup, but significant funds willarm of the marketing plan will be the VP of need to be allocated towards this initiative.Marketing and Marketing Coordinator, in thisposition they will coordinate staff to develop thecommercials to be aired. This can be done throughan external marketing agency, but can be avoidedby utilizing the highly effective and patriotic “Thisis OUR League” commercials currently availablefrom the CFL. Additional support and advisementcan be sought from the BC Lions marketing teamwho successfully developed a large quantity ofhigh-quality humorous commercials that can beused to guide development of CFL’s commercialsbut the message needs to apply to the broaderCFL audience. It will also be the necessary tointerface with CBC and the Hockey Night inCanada organization to purchase ad space in thefinal games. This process will likely need to beginin winter 2013. At $140,000 per 30 secondcommercial, and with approximately ninecommercial breaks per regulation NHL game, theCFL should place commercials in 5 of these breaks,
  33. 33. 31 : appendices
  34. 34. CFL 2013 appendix 1.0 2012 CFL Season Attendance Summary 2012 CFL Season Attendance Summary 32Statistic Value Game Pre-SeasonSingle Game Attendance High 36,214 MTL @ TORSeason Average 27,811.6Total Attendance 222,493Capacity Average 37,036.9% of Capacity 75.09%Sellouts 1 Regular SeasonSingle Game Attendance High 43,178 SSK @ EDMSeason Average 28,192.7Total Attendance 2,029,875Capacity Average 37,036.9% of Capacity 76.12%Sellouts 9
  35. 35. CFL 2013 appendix 1.033 Week$$$$1$$$$$$$$2$$$$$$$$$$$3$$$$$$$$$4$$$$$$$$$$5$$$$$$$$$$6$$$$$$$$$$$7$$$$$$$$$8$$$$$$$$$$$9$$$$$$$$$$10$$$$$$$$11$$$$$$12$$$$$$$13$$$$$$$$$$14$$$$$$$$15$$$$$$$$$16$$$$$$$$$$$$17$$$$$$$$$$$18
  36. 36. CFL 2013 appendix 2.02007 Grey Cup Spectator Origin by Source 34
  37. 37. CFL 2013 Acknowledgement & thanks35 MNCC Consulting would like to thank all of the individuals and organizations who made a contribution to the successful development of this marketing plan, whether by providing constructive information, professional guidance and valuable support through the entire term to complete this project. Without the encouragement and guidance of the following, this project would not have materialized: The BC Lions Sean McGarva, Community Relations Coordinator, BC Lions The Odette School of Business Odette Professor Peter Mateja The Canadian Football League The University of Windsor As the delivery of this plan progresses, the continued commitment of these and other organizations will be critical the CFL’s success. Key contacts in MNCC Consulting © Matt McGarva <>, Tyler Compton <>, Donato Cerino <>, Michael Nasser <>. Please direct questions and comments about this report via email.
  38. 38. CFL 2013$(2011).$Canadian$football$league.$The$Canadian$Business$Journal,$Retrieved$from$hGp:// 36 mobile/business_in_acOon/sports_recreaOon/ mark_cohon_was_named_commissioner_of_the_canadian_football_leagu.htmlDowbiggin,$B.$(2011,$November$9).$CFLs$slumping$raOngs$cause$for$concern$U$The$Globe$and$Mail.$The$Globe$and$ Mail.$Retrieved$March$22,$2013,$from$hGp:// causeUforUconcern/arOcle4183618/Edmonton$Eskimos$Annual$Report.$Rep.$2011.$Web.$12$Mar.$2013Gesa,$N.$Canadian$Sport$Tourism$Alliance,$(2008).$2007$grey$cup:$Economic$impact$asseesment.$Toronto,$ON:$Hummel,$T.$(2012).$LeC$at$the$gate:$A$discrete$choice$model$of$fan$aEendance$in$the$canadian$football$league.$ (Masters$thesis,$The$University$of$Guelph).Long,$M.$(2010,$August).$The$rebirth$of$the$new$CFL.$Retrieved$from$hGp:// rebirthUofUnewUcfl.html$M$Assie,$S.$(2011).$Canadian$football$league$stadium$locaOon:$A$comparaOve$analysis$of$the$saskatchewan$ entertainment$facility$and$winnipeg$stadium.$Parkinson,$D.$(2010,$November$26).$CFL$definitely$going$in$the$right$direcOon.$Globe$Advisor.$Retrieved$March$ 20,$2013,$from$hGps:// /SPCFLBUSINESS26ATLSaskatchewan$Roughrider$Football$Club$Inc.$2011U2012$Annual$Report.$Web.$12.$Mar.$2013Scrimshaw,$B.,$Neish,$J.,$Bensimon,$J.,$&$Hunt,$G.$(2002).$Canadian$Football$League$Case.$CFL$&$Bensimon$Byrne$ D’Arcy,$1,$1U2.Staff,$T.$C.$(2012,$November$26).$100th$grey$cup$game$sets$viewership$records$for$tsn.$Retrieved$from$hGp://$Blue$Bombers$Annual$Report.$Rep.$2011.$Web.$12$Mar.$2013Hodgson,$Glen,$and$Mario$Lefebvre.$"The$Pro$Sports$Market$in$Canada."$The$Pro$Sport$Market$in$Canada.$The$ Conference$Board$of$Canada,$11$Feb.$2011.$Web.$08$Mar.$2013.
  39. 39. Special thanks toPublished April 2013 by MNCC ConsultingCopyright © MNCC Consulting