Coming next: The U SPORTS Partnership Opportunity Showcase to be held in Toronto on June 1st.  See additional details below or register here.

U SPORTS Partnership Showcase to demonstrate to Corporate Canada how university sport in Canada can deliver engagement, brand building and awareness to millennials and Generation X’ers across Canada.

On Thursday, June 1, U SPORTS is doing something new, holding a partnership opportunity showcase at the Hockey Hall of Fame to update businesses, brands and agencies on Canadian university sport marketing opportunities. U SPORTS CEO Graham Brown believes this is a big step for the organization, and they are excited to present opportunities for corporate Canada to augment current marketing strategies and create new strategies by partnering with universities nationally.

“It’s a different approach to promote university sport directly to the corporate community,” Brown said. “The bottom line is we have a great property, but raising awareness of the benefits is challenging to communicate with corporate Canada. This event is an opportunity to bring together the corporate community to showcase university sport in a professional manner.”

The event will include a presentation on opportunities in university sport (with speakers Arash Madani of Sportsnet and Glen Grunwald of McMaster University, joining Graham Brown), lunch, and all-day access to the Hockey Hall of Fame.  Brown said there are numerous benefits that U SPORTS can offer to corporate Canada, and that the new, more unified approach U SPORTS has established will provide “one stop shopping” for national marketing campaigns.

“There is a degree of the unknown about Canadian university sport,” Brown said. “Many people see the NCAA marketing machine, and attempt to compare it to Canadian universities. The reality is that to date, no one has being empowered to actually approach marketing at Canadian universities in a similar manner. With all the changes on our board and a new enthusiasm to promote and grow university sport, there is an effort to approach it differently. Not to attempt to be like the NCAA, but with a strategic approach to trying to show corporate Canada that university sport is open for business, that it does want to work with corporate Canada, and it is looking to align with corporate Canada, to take advantage of the university campus marketing opportunities.”

There are a number of potential opportunities for corporate Canada to take advantage of. U SPORTS offers access to 56 university campuses from coast to coast, with over 100,000 participants in intramural sports, 20,000 student-athletes competing for 21 national championships and over 40 conference championships.  Over 900,000 millennial students walk through the sport wellness footprint on these campuses weekly. For agencies and brands looking to reach younger demographics, U SPORTS would be a great fit.

“What it comes down to is the corporate strategy," Brown said. "We have on-campus collaboration, we have on-campus activation, we have branded content and certainly we have a very strong demographic in terms of people who are at school. A lot of brands and certainly agencies are trying to find ways to connect with that group. I believe there is an opportunity to work and partner with U SPORTS and our network who work in that environment every day and can facilitate connections and growing targeted marketing initiatives.”

It can be more than simply hitting masses of young people. Varsity student-athletes in particular can be high-value targets, and investing in university sport can also pay rewards with well-connected parents, alumni, friends and staff.

“Our student-athletes are ambassadors and future leaders,” Brown said. “Another key element is that our primary group is university-aged. However, there also are those secondary and tertiary groups, parents, family friends, alumni and staff. It’s a unique community.”

Brown knows U SPORTS can be an excellent partner for companies looking to get the most advertising bang for their buck.

“U SPORTS is a value proposition,” he said. “Marketers are spending a lot of money to buy professional sports, and there’s no question they get excellent value, but not every opportunity has to be at that level. University sport is an opportunity where more modest investments can provide excellent returns.

"Universities from the four sport conferences from across Canada are working closely together to present a unified voice. Individual universities serviced their local markets, the conferences worked with their partners, and CIS (now U SPORTS) focused on national championships strategy.  This new partnership of collaboration and asset amalgamation is designed to create marketing opportunities that will appeal to corporate Canada. It’s a new approach for Canadian university sport – and we believe it is the right one."

Become a U SPORTS sponsor today. Contact Matthew Delich, U SPORTS Coordinator, Corporate Partnerships - 905-508-3000 ext. 236