Case Study

Retail Case Study: Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment


One of the largest sports and entertainment companies in North America, Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment (MLSE) owns the Toronto Raptors NBA basketball team, the Toronto Maple Leafs NHL hockey team, the Toronto FC MLS soccer club, the Toronto Marlies AHL hockey team, Air Canada Centre, Leafs TV and Raptors NBA TV.


Several years ago, MLSE began noticing that its basketball team, the Toronto Raptors, was attracting a more ethnically diverse crowd than in the past. With five of the Raptors’ fifteen players hailing from other countries—such as Turkey, Spain, Italy and Slovenia—company marketing executives saw an opportunity to embrace this ethnically diverse fan base and attract new Canadians to Raptors’ games.


To help MLSE penetrate these emerging markets, EA researchers analyzed the Raptors’ ticketholders using PRIZMC2, EA’s segmentation system that classifies consumers into one of 66 lifestyle types based on demographics and values. With PRIZMC2 data linked to survey research from BBM RTS Canada, analysts detailed the lifestyles, food and drink preferences and media tastes of the ticketholders. And as part of a direct mail campaign to promote a Mini Pack ticket plan, EA employed its OriginsCanada software to identify the cultural, ethnic and linguistic origins of people based on name alone.


When the PRIZMC2 analysis of ticketholders revealed a concentration of fans in the South Asian Society segment, MLSE sponsored a Bollywood Night during a Raptors game, with a halftime show featuring Indian music and dancers. After data indicated season ticketholders enjoyed wine and gourmet food, MLSE sponsored a wine-and-cheese reception featuring fare from players’ home countries. For its multicultural direct marketing campaign, MLSE targeted 40,000 households in ethnic neighbourhoods, sending them postcards “written” by its foreign-born players promoting a new Flex Pack ticket plan. Identifying postal codes with high concentrations of ethnic clusters that were home to Raptors’ ticketholders—segments like Asian Affluence and New Italy—analysts appended a prospect list with Origins and PRIZMC2 codes. Postcards from Turkish player Hedo Turkoglu went to areas with high concentrations of Turks, notes from Italian Andrea Bargnani went to Italian enclaves, and so on. “The postcards were written so that anyone would enjoy them,” says Neda Tabatabaie, manager of CRM for MLSE. And the campaign proved a success as calls and sales increased after the mail drop.