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The Globe and Mail

Rogers bundles up its Sportsnet ad offerings

Sportsnet's Toronto newsroom.

JENNIFER ROBERTS/jennifer roberts The Globe and Mail

Rogers Communications Inc. has spent the past year and a half expanding Sportsnet from a second-tier sports specialty network to a brand that spans media platforms, from TV to print, radio and digital.

Now it is seeing some initial success taking that bundled brand to marketers.

For the next two weeks, Coors Light will appear in every Sportsnet medium as the exclusive sponsor of coverage of the National Hockey League's trade deadline day.

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The deal with Molson Coors Brewing Co. represents the first time that Rogers has successfully sold an advertising sponsorship across all five of its Sportsnet platforms: television, radio, Sportsnet Magazine, its websites and mobile application.

Rogers began the effort to expand its sports media properties in the summer of 2010, with the launch of secondary network Sportsnet One. It then renamed its sports radio stations in Toronto and Calgary, and added another channel by purchasing control of the Setanta specialty TV channel and changing its name to Sportsnet World. After the launch of Sportsnet Magazine last fall, the company rolled out a rebranding of all its Sportsnet properties.

The new logo, new sets for TV broadcasts and a revamped look for all its properties was a bid to present a new face to the battle for supremacy in sports media in Canada; for years, Rogers has taken second place to TSN, now owned by rival BCE Inc. under its Bell Media division.

But Rogers Media president Keith Pelley has also said the expansion of Sportsnet is a marketing play, attempting to sell advertisers on an "integrated" bundle of sports media properties.

"We've been talking a lot about all these great assets we have at Rogers Media. Now that Sportsnet has relaunched as a brand, not just a TV station, a big focus is looking for these big media properties," said Jamie Michaels, director of brand integration for Sportsnet.

"We are looking at taking something that used to be a TV feature or just a TV-and-digital feature, and looking at our suite of products [for advertisers]"

It's an emerging trend for advertisers, who are seeing viewer habits changing. By offering ad placement on the Web and mobile properties as well, the sponsorship takes advantage of the growing numbers of sports fans who may tune in to a TV broadcast on trade deadline day, as well as checking in with stats and updates on their digital devices.

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It's something that advertisers such as Coors are seeking in their media buying.

"We all know that media consumption habits continue to expand. As such, we will continue to promote key brand programs across a wide spectrum of media channels and platforms," said Deborah Komlodi, head of media for Molson Coors Canada. "It's necessary to achieve needed reach and impact."

As exclusive presenting sponsor, Coors Light will appear as part of the Hockey Central Trade Deadline labelling onscreen and on the sets of the TV broadcasts. The brand is also mentioned in Sportsnet's promotions for its coverage of the trade deadline.

It has companion print ads in the current issue of the magazine, display ads on the websites and mobile devices, and commercials on television and radio.

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