Category: Corporate Marketer of the Year
Winner: Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment

Matt Coyle (left) and Michael Gelfand of MLSE.

Matt Coyle (left) and Michael Gelfand of MLSE.

Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment’s (MLSE) marketing and communications department was recognized as corporate marketer of the year following a banner year with campaigns and events that garnered headlines internationally for the company’s teams, brands and venues including the Toronto Maple Leafs, Toronto Raptors, Toronto FC, Toronto Marlies and Air Canada Centre.

“We were thrilled and honoured, obviously, particularly because the award was a team award for MLSE,” says Shannon Hosford, vice-president, marketing & communications for MLSE. “There are so many people who were involved in earning us this award. Definitely my team are the ones that deserve all the accolades as it relates to our marketing efforts.

“As the hockey club says, it’s not about who’s on the back of the jersey that matters, it’s who’s on the front. We have a lot of people that are involved in making this a success.”

MLSE’s highlights from the past year include: the Raptor’s rebrand as We the North, including new uniforms, a new look and feel and a new court; Our Legends Grow, celebrating superstars from throughout MLSE’s 100-year history; and the NBA All-Star game that is coming up in February 2016.

When asked what’s next for this leading organization, Hosford replied: “In terms of the marketing industry overall, I’d say the move toward business intelligence and being smarter as it relates to connecting and engaging with your fans or consumers is the future. We are figuring out how that engagement translates to better brand experiences. I think it’s a huge opportunity and in the end it’s going to be something that helps us provide better experiences for our fans.”

Other finalists in this category: D&A Group/Stratovate and Mercedes-Benz

This article originally appeared in the December 2015 issue of Direct Marketing.

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