If you live in Canada, you must be aware of the situation with the purchase of Canadian owned and operated oil and gas companies by Chinese state owned oil and gas companies. In 2012, the stories about Nexen and others made headlines. Commentaries and editorials questioned whether China would soon own our oil patch. The federal government had to step in to analyze and determine whether or not the takeovers were good for Canadians. They determined yes!
So, what does this have to do with sponsorship marketing? Everything! As reported last month by Mark Sabourin and The Sponsorship Report, China’s Peak Sports, an apparel company, has entered the playing field as a sponsor of Canadian sports. The Toronto Raptors NBA team signed a deal with Peak Sports for the team apparel sponsorship that was vacated by Adidas. This is the first time that a Chinese company has become a substantial sponsor of a professional Canadian sports franchise. The partnership includes product distribution, setting up a national distribution network for the Chinese manufacturer, in-stadium exposure, and community investment opportunities and programs. So does this mark the end of the traditional sponsors in Canada? Will the Chinese become major sponsors of sports and other properties in Canada? Will this be good or bad for our sponsorship industry?
For me, this is good news. When a new player enters any market (be it a financial institution, a hamburger joint, a sponsor, hardware store, or major retailer), it only sharpens our senses and raises the bar. The influx of Chinese brands and their money will push complacent sponsors to new levels. Perhaps our $0.62:1 activation ratio might rise. Perhaps the Chinese will help us become better at what we do, rather than “doing the same old stuff.” For the selling properties, it will also in my mind, be a paradigm shift. Peak Sports and other Chinese companies (state owned and otherwise) are not new to the game, just new to the market. Properties will need to meet the needs and objectives of a new way of doing things here in Canada. Those properties that embrace such change in sport, arts, entertainment, municipalities, education, and causes will be successful. Those that continue to wallow in the past will be left in the past.
China, welcome to Canada!
These are just one person’s thoughts. Yours are welcomed as well. Please add your thoughts or comments below. Thank you for reading and your feedback.