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Winning the Game Day Presentation: Toronto Maple Leafs
Winning the Game Day Presentation: Toronto Maple Leafs
Posted March 16, 2019
By Mat Israelson
3/16/19 |
3 MIN READ

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Student vs. Sport Spectator

Ever been to a class that bored you and made you wonder, “How can I stay in this for a semester? You go to Google for a how-to on surviving a boring class. Perhaps you take to RateMyProfessors.com hoping others share similar experiences.

Photo courtesy of a wikiHow article titled ‘How to Sit Through a Boring Class’ article co-authored by Trudi Griffin, LPC.

TIME IS GOING BY SO SLOWLY. WHEN WILL THIS CLASS END? Similarly, time seems to slow down when you’re stuck watching a live sporting competition that appears listless, your favourite team is struggling and fan engagement is low. It’s easy to turn off a television when your team is struggling, but it’s difficult to walk out of class.

When the seconds feel like minutes and the minutes feel like hours, the feeling of angst can take over. Just like in the classroom when your professor says, “okay everyone, time to break” sport events have natural and forced intermissions. Do you return for more torture? Teams must engage fans, just as professors must engage students.

The Game is Just One Part

Sport spectators need to be entertained and engaged beyond the playing surface. That’s where game day operations comes in. Game day operations is all planning, organizing and executing the presentation, production, entertainment and promotional activities. So much goes into it: organizing, planning, creativity, and on the fly thinking.

A professor who has control over their concepts and the way the material is delivered. On the other hand, a game day operations team has little control over the core product; the game itself. Therefore, they focus their efforts on product extensions.

Leafs vs. Lightning

Was that ever true on Monday night when the Toronto Maple Leafs played the Tampa Bay Lightning at the Scotiabank Arena. The first few minutes of the third period saw a listless and disengaged crowd. The outcome was not what the home crowd hoped for (Leafs lost 6-2), but there was a much larger ensemble to enjoy as a spectator.

For instance, check out this ensemble of footage taken 25 minutes before puck drop.

We’ve come a long way since Maple Leafs Gardens’ pyrotechnics nearly blinded Blue Jays star Joe Carter in 1992.

It’s easy to just let the players skate around in silence with the crowd hooting and hollering. However, fans by in excess of $500 a seat to come to the game. They expect to receive an experience that’s worth that hefty price of admission.

Honouring a Gretsky family member was just one of the activities the game day operations team ensured on Monday night.

Game Day Presentation Tasks are Extensive

Indeed, game day operations is a multifaceted job. It’s ensuring promotions are planned, organized and delivered. In addition, including sponsors in the plan is a must. Also, engaging fans through their mobile devices is a must as consumers are inclined to use them at games. Furthermore, it’s knowing what your consumers want and delivering. Moreover, matching or exceeding the competition is important. For instance, check out what the Boston Bruins did on St. Patrick’s Day.

Side note: Sportsnet did an interesting piece on every team’s celebrity fans.

Thus, game day operations is knowing current holidays, events and news. It’s about entertaining and building experiences for the spectators.

The Maple Leafs featured Mike Myers for their St. Patrick’s Day theme.

The Verdict

The Toronto Maple Leafs do it better than most sport organizations. A large reason for their success is their game day team. You can read more about game day operations here.

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