“One-hundred days to go” publicity campaigns like the USOC’s “Road to London” and “Road to Sochi” countdowns have become popular for major international sports events. There is a good reason – they work. As the sports calendar sprints from the NFL Super Bowl to march Madness to MLB Opening Day to the NBA and Stanley Cup playoff series, it can be a challenge to get the attention of fans for major events further in the future. But experience shows that 100 days lead time is often needed to plan attendance and other ways to support teams and athletes, making 100 day countdown events practical as well as celebratory.
The team leading the Toronto 2015 Pan American Games has scheduled a countdown launch for April first that is matched to both its audience building and branding objectives. It is also a unique format, which can help garner additional attention. This “One-hundred days to go” campaign will take place when 100 immigrants to Canada are awarded citizenship in a public ceremony. A dozen are from other countries that will be competing in the PanAmerican Games. This selection of a starting point for a launch campaign is designed to demonstrate the close ties that Canada has to countries around the world in the international sports community through its large and vibrant population of immigrants. It is also a way to build a local foundation for hospitality for the many foreign teams visiting Toronto for the Pan American Games.
Of course, a decorated Olympic athlete will be on hand to reinforce the international sports event image. The guest of honor will be Catriona Le May Doan, a three time Olympic medalist in speed skating. The venue in the Athlete’s Village will strengthen the sports connection to amplify the buzz about plans for the Games.
The PanAmerican Games countdown is just one of many publicity campaigns Toronto 2015 is supporting to build momentum for the Games. Greivis Vasquez, a player for Team Venezuela Basketball and the Toronto Raptors has been a keynote speaker helping to reinforce Toronto’s image as a sports friendly city that welcomes athletes from around the world. Soon, on April 20 and 21, the University of Toronto will present an international colloquium called “Historicizing the Pan American Games.” Topics will include “The Pan-American “Olympics” at the 1937 Greater Texas and Pan-American Exposition ,” “Ideals and Political Cultures in the Pan- American Games’ Design,” “Mexico and International Sport,” and “Challenges Faced in the Hosting of the 1991 Pan-Am Games in Havana, Cuba.” The two day program will give educators and sports event managers valuable perspectives on the foundations of this prestigious international sports events. The program is also free and open to the public.