A team of senior marketing students at the Odette School of Business at the University of Windsor met with Managers at Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment (MLSE) at the MLSE head office on Friday, December 4. The team presented a detailed proposal on how MLSE can use Toronto Maple Leaf fan loyalty to enhance Toronto Raptor revenues.
The team is comprised of seven 4th year BComm students (Marco Lot, Chantel Wasyluk, Katrina Wasyluk, Julia Blasl, Mark Teffer, Clark Grace and Sierra Mariani), 3rd year BComm student Tatyana Francic and 3rd year Liberal and Professional Studies student Shauna Hughes. Odette Dean Dr. Allan Conway, Marketing Profesor Dave Bussière and Lancer Basketball Coach Chantal Vallée also attended. The MSLE management team included individuals from Sales, Marketing, Partnerships, and Research & Analytics.
“Our research question focused on increasing the overlap between Leaf and Raptors fans,” explains Katrina Wasyluk. “This required us to do extensive research into fan demographics. We needed to truly understand their current positioning.”
The team also undertook research into similar organizations to MLSE. “One of the interesting things about MLSE is that they have multiple teams – Leafs, Raptors, Toronto FC, Marlies and the new Raptor 905 development league team – so we looked for other North American multi-team organizations to understand the current and potential landscape,” explains Sierra Mariani. As such, the team researched the activities of organizations in Detroit, Buffalo, Los Angeles and New York City.
“We were also able to tap in to a major dataset that allowed us to determine demographic and psychographic attributes of regular basketball website users. This helped us pinpoint the target market even more precisely,” explains Julia Blasl.
The team anchored their final recommendations on core consumer behavior attitude change theories: balance theory and social judgement theory. Interestingly, the MLSE team noted that the concepts that underline Balance Theory were very similar to a model developed and used by MLSE.
In preparation for the actual action plan, the team prepared social media trend analysis reports for Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn.
Clark Grace notes that one of the key benefits of the project was that it forced them to develop a complete marketing plan for an actual customer: “We based our proposal on in-depth quantitative and qualitative research, consumer behavior theory, knowledge of the organization and a focus on achievable incremental action.”
Marco Lot agrees, “In the end, the MLSE team agreed that our proposal had highlighted an opportunity that they had failed to see, and that it was an actionable plan. More importantly, while our emphasis was on the leafs-Raptors link, the foundation of our proposal is extendable to the other teams in the MLSE portfolio.
The team members were also given a tour of the Air Canada Centre facilities, attended a Raptors game and were given Raptor’s scarves designed by Raptor mega-fan Drake.
The project was part of a Marketing Tactics and Analysis class taught by Prof. Dave Bussière.