Canadians Love Sports. Here’s 8 Ways to Reach Them.

From casual viewers to die-hard fans, Canadian audiences can’t get enough sports.

28 million Canadians tuned into TV coverage of the Tokyo Olympics in 2021, according to CBC. Viewership for digital video soared by 62 per cent over the previous games.

And this winter, from the Beijing Olympic Games to the World Cup qualifying matches, millions of people are watching Canada win.

Sporting events offer huge potential to reach audiences. But too often, public sector and non-profit advertisers aren’t taking advantage of every opportunity to get into the game. And that could be a mistake.

There’s a myth that it’s mostly men who watch sports. But it’s just not true.

Watching sports – with a seat-warmer underneath you or from the comfort of your own home – is an event for the entire family. And if there was ever a gender-gap in sports viewership, it’s disappeared.

Women account for nearly half of all NHL hockey viewers, as of fall 2020. And women’s sporting events draw enormous ratings.

When the Canadian women’s soccer team won gold in Tokyo, over 4.4 million viewers were watching, making it the most-watched event by Canadians at the Olympics.

Sports viewers are exactly the audiences who need to hear your message.

And now, there are more ways than ever to get noticed – no matter what your budget.

Here are 8 tactics to help get you in the game.

1. Cut through with targeted TV for big events

Sure, multiple Super Bowl ads might be out of reach. But you can still consider TV with targeted reach to make it more affordable.

For instance, it’s possible to buy one TV spot for the Super Bowl or for just one night of Hockey Night in Canada in just one region – putting your message on the air for a big audience without breaking the bank.

2. Show up on sports radio

It’s where fans go when they’re on the go. And radio is affordable and widely-available.

Here’s a bonus. Radio has huge creative potential. Just imagine the sound effects!

3. Do a digital takeover

Sports fans turn to The Score and other popular sports news sites to keep up with every goal and every trade. Digital ads and website takeovers are a great way to reach new eyes.

4. Make a splash with out-of-home advertising

When CUPE 500 in Winnipeg needed to save local pools and arenas from being shut down, we worked together to design an award-winning campaign featuring billboards near the facilities at risk of closure.

We caught drivers’ attention as they drove their kids to the pool and arena, raising awareness with a highly targeted message that was instantly relevant to people’s lives.

5. Sponsor a sporting event

In Saskatchewan, SGEU has sponsored the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League for years. And it’s a brilliant way of building brand recognition and supporting the community. Every month, there’s even a SGEU MVP of the Month.

From sponsoring a national event to supporting local and regional leagues, sports events bring communities together. Showing up is a great way to show your support.

6. Get noticed with rink board advertising

How often is your audience sitting with your ad for… hours?

Rink boards are a fantastic way to reach arena audiences and make a big impression. Avoid faces on rink boards – because puck marks are going to happen. And stick with a message that’s clear, simple, and tailored to fans.

7. Go deep with podcasts

Dedicated sports fans love their podcasts. And there’s lots to choose from. Sportsnet alone produces at least 19 podcast shows!

That’s a lot of ears. And podcast listeners love storytelling that speaks directly to them.

8. Get creative

Every ad needs a hook. And sports offer great potential for creative concepts.

Depending on your campaign, a partnership with a local team might make sense. Interviews with athletes and coaches – well-known local sports personalities – are a great tactic to help public health messages reach a larger audience.

Got questions? Want to explore tactics for your next campaign? Give us a call! We’re always here to help.