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MKTG Insights: Sponsorship Awareness Study of the 2015 Toronto Pan-Am Games

MKTG Insights: Sponsorship Awareness Study of the 2015 Toronto Pan-Am Games

The 2015Pan-Am Games are LESS than one year away.

On July 10th 2015, the world's third largest international multi-sport games will begin in Toronto, Canada and become the largest sporting event ever hosted in Ontario. More than 10,000 athletes, coaches and officials from 41 countries will compete in this landmark event. Over 250,000 tourists and 20,000 volunteers are expected to attend the games next July. In one year's time, the average Canadian will interact with the Games in one fashion or another, be it as a fan, spectator, or disgruntled commuter. However, one year removed, what are the average Canadians perceptions of the Pan-Am Games? Are they proud to have the world gather in their country? Annoyed at the fact that their taxpayer money is being invested into venue builds?

Given the marquee nature of the event,  there is great potential for fan insights and key learnings for corporate sponsors to emerge from the Games. Recognizing this opportunity, MKTG has invested in proprietary market research on the 2015 Toronto Pan-Am Games. MKTG leveraged Google’s Consumer Survey tool to survey an audience of 500 Canadians on their attitudes toward the event and its existing / potential brand partners.

Two weeks ago, MKTG released our Pan-Am Games research which focused on Consumer Perceptions towards the 2015 Toronto Pan-Am Games, exploring attitudes around the Games, and the perception of Sponsors associated with the event.

Our second edition of Pan-Am Games research will look at awareness (aided and unaided) of the Pan-Am Games' key corporate sponsors. With many sponsors having signed 1-2 years ago for an event that is still one year away, we will examine whether or not these investments in sponsorship have results in attribution for the brand.

Interested in learning more about the games? Have an opinion on the opportunity that the Games present to corporate sponsors? Tweet at MKTG to join the conversation.


- Survey was conducted using Google Consumer Surveys between July 19th and July 21st -Survey targeted general Canadian population (French Quebec excluded) - Sample size of 500 respondents

 Q1: Which Category of brand would you most like to see as a Pan-Am Games sponsor?

While no individual category received selection from more than 15% of survey respondents, the leading vote-getters would be directionally consistent with the largest spending sponsorship categories in the industry.  The dominant sponsorship and general marketing presence of beer brands like Molson and Budweiser has resulted in significant equity and attribution within sport. Further, both Molson and Budweiser have placed more of an emphasis on their patriotic marketing, putting significant dollars against initiatives that linked the brand back to national pride (ie: Molson Beer Fridge, Budweiser Red Goal Light during the Sochi Olympics, etc.), perhaps leading to heightened association to an event in which Canada's amateur athletes will represent their country. (Note - Molson is currently a sponsor of the Pan-Am Games.) Regional viewpoints on the data provide additional insights into different perspectives across Canada. For example, while nationwide just 13% of respondents believe a Beer brand should sponsor the Pan-Am Games, in British Colombia and the Prairies and the Atlantic, over 30% of respondents feel a Beer brand should be a sponsor.

Q2: What 2015 Pan-Am Games sponsors are you aware of? 

MKTG asked this open-ended question to survey respondents to measure unaided awareness of sponsors of the 2015 Pan-Am Games. Nearly 70% of respondents replied with none (or a variation of none). With the Pan-Am Games set to begin in one year’s time (July 2015), the majority of sponsor presence in-market to date has been in the form of press releases over deal announcements. While few partners such as CIBC (Team Next) and CISCO (Toronto 2015 Countdown Clock) have been present in market, few partners have launched any major activations surrounding the event, likely contributing to low unaided awareness. The highest score for a brand on this measure was given to Coca-Cola with just under 5% if respondents listing them as a Pan-Am sponsor. Coca-Cola's presence in amateur sports, specifically related the Olympics, was a possible contributor to this result (Note - Coca-Cola is an official supplier of the 2015 Pan-Am Games).

Q3: Which of the following is a 2015 Pan-Am Games sponsor (Banking)?     

CIBC (official sponsor) ranked 4th among "Big 5" retail banks in Canada on this measure of aided awareness of sponsorship, suggesting existing activations have gained little attribution. RBC’s sponsorship of the Canadian Olympic Committee and various NSO’s would explain their popularity among respondents.

Q4: Which of the following is a 2015 Pan-Am Games sponsor (Automotive)?    

GM (Chevrolet) is the official sponsor in the category and received highest attribution amongst its competitors. Still however, more than 80% of respondents were unsure of the official sponsor. Age played a factor in determining whether or not a respondent answered "I'm not sure". Among 18-24 year olds: 68% were unsure. Among 65+ year olds: 90% were unsure.

Q5: Which of the following is a 2015 Pan-Am Games sponsor (Grocery Retailer)?

Loblaws (official sponsor) received highest attribution in the category. Awareness levels rose to approximately 15% among residents of Ontario.

 Key Takeaways for Sponsors:

In Part 1 of our 2015 Pan-Am Games research, MKTG explored the notion of consumer sentiment surrounding the Games and their partners. For sponsors who want consumers to understand their involvement with a property, the prerequisite is to make them aware of your sponsorship in the first place. Brands involved with the Games must take their story to the market and drive attribution for their involvement. MKTG would advise Pan-Am sponsors to ramp up activation activity in the 3-6 month window prior to the Games beginning, in order to extend the windows of engagement with consumers.

Disclosure - Sampling Bias:

When targeting an audience representing the Canadian population, MKTG attempted to find respondents that match the distribution of people in Canada by age, gender and location as reported in the Canadian census. The sampling bias of the survey communicates the difference between the collected answer distribution and the desired distribution from census data.

The RMSE measures the differences between the desired distribution and actual distribution for each targeted population segment and calculates a weighted average error.

The survey questions presentedhave a sampling bias of 5.1% (RMSE).

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