Raptors' off-court success: Building "public relationships" with their fans

New study shows Toronto Raptors and Canada's MLS teams are better at building relationships

TORONTO, May 27, 2016 /CNW/ - While two-thirds of Canadians still list an NHL franchise as their favourite sports team, new research suggests the Toronto Raptors and Canada's Major League Soccer teams have been more successful in building relationships with their fans.

A Leger Research study for Argyle Public Relationships shows that fans of the Raptors and the three MLS teams rate their teams more highly than fans of NHL teams do on six key metrics of relationships between brands and their publics: trust, satisfaction, commitment, caring for customers, concern for people, and the public's ability to influence of the brand.

An average of only 42 percent of respondents agreed that their favourite NHL team was delivering on these critical metrics, with 14 percent agreeing with all metrics. The Raptors do much better with their fans, with an average agreement of 52 per cent, and 26 per cent agreeing with all metrics. Canada's MLS teams were statistically tied with the Raptors with an average agreement of 50%, and 25% agreeing with every metric.

"While Canadians' attachment to hockey remains powerful, there's a sense our relationships with NHL teams have weakened, and that other sports are doing better," said Daniel Tisch, president of Argyle Public Relationships. "This is not just about satisfaction, which is heavily influenced by success. Argyle's public relationships research shows the Raptors and Canada's pro soccer teams are simply better at showing caring and commitment. It's also notable that we conducted the survey in early May, before the Raptors' bandwagon really started to roll."

Among other Canadian sports teams, the Toronto Blue Jays were a close second to the Raptors with an average relationship score of 46%. The Toronto Maple Leafs came closest to the Raptors in the number of fans who agree on all metrics (19%). Among the teams with the largest fan bases, the Vancouver Canucks lagged their competitors, with average agreement of only 35%, and only 12% agreeing with every metric.

Detailed findings

Argyle's Public Relationships Index™, with research by Leger Research Intelligence, looks at how well brands perform on six 'public relationships' metrics established by academic research. In the sports survey, Argyle and Leger asked respondents to identify their preferred team and then rank it on these criteria. Here are the results:


All sports
teams

NHL

CFL

MLB

NBA

MLS

Trust in team

53%

52%

55%

57%

60%

62%

Satisfaction with team

50%

46%

57%

61%

56%

55%

Cares about customers

50%

52%

54%

46%

55%

56%

Committed to meet expectations

47%

46%

49%

51%

59%

51%

Concerned about people like me

37%

36%

44%

38%

48%

46%

Open to public input/influence

18%

18%

26%

21%

32%

30%

 

Here are the results for the five teams cited as the favourites of the most Canadians:


Average public relationship score*

Percentage of fans agreeing
with all relationship metrics


Score

Rank

Score

Rank

Toronto Raptors

52%

1

26%

1

Toronto Blue Jays

46%

2

16%

3

Montreal Canadiens

44%

3

15%

4

Toronto Maple Leafs

42%

4

19%

2

Vancouver Canucks

35%

5

12%

5


*Average public relationships score measures fans of this team's average level of agreement with the six relationship metrics.

 

According to academic research, there are six dimensions of relationships between brands and their publics: trust; satisfaction; perceived commitment; caring for customers ("exchange relationship"); and concern for people like me ("communal relationship").

"Leger's research has been informing the decisions of Canadian brands for decades, and it's exciting to break new ground with Argyle in exploring the role of relationships in the health of these brands – and the businesses behind them," said Lisa Covens, Leger's Vice President of Communications and Public Affairs.

About the study

The Argyle Public Relationships Index™ of Canada's sports industry is based on a survey of 1528 Canadians completed online between May 2nd to May 5th 2016 using Leger's online panel, LegerWeb. A probability sample of the same size would yield a margin of error of +/-2.5%, 19 times out of 20. Leger's online panel has approximately 475,000 members nationally – with between 10,000 and 20,000 new members added each month, and has a retention rate of 90%.

Argyle expresses its appreciation to Dr. Alex Sevigny of McMaster University for his counsel in the development of this survey.

About Argyle Public Relationships™ (www.argylepr.com)

Argyle helps major brands and respected organizations build and strengthen their relationships with the stakeholders who drive their reputations, brands and business success – across Canada and beyond. For more than 35 years, Argyle has been chosen by some of the world's biggest brands, put big ideas onto the public agenda, and become one of Canada's largest independent communications firms.
 
Argyle is a Canadian leader in awards for consumer marketing, corporate communications, health communications, public affairs, digital communications, branding and design. In 2015, Argyle was named by PROFIT 500 as one of Canada's fastest growing companies. Argyle has offices in Toronto, Ottawa and Calgary, and affiliates across the country and around the world.

About Leger (www.leger360.com)

Leger is the largest Canadian-owned polling, research, and strategic marketing firm with 600 employees in Montreal, Quebec City, Toronto, Edmonton, and Calgary in Canada, and Philadelphia in the United States. Leger is part of the WIN network partners in more than 100 countries, making Leger not only the largest Canadian-owned company in its sector, but also an internationally recognized brand.

Leger provides its clients with unique expertise in market research and information technology, in addition to business consulting and strategies in the fields of customer satisfaction, positioning, brand management, communication efficiency, corporate reputation, social acceptability, crisis management and customer experience.

SOURCE Argyle Public Relationships

Image with caption: "Argyle Public Relationships Index™ (CNW Group/Argyle Public Relationships)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20160527_C6417_PHOTO_EN_701024.jpg



For further information: Nick Williams or Mary Zajac, Argyle Public Relationships, (416) 968-7311 ext 228 / 260, nwilliams@argylepr.com / mzajac@argylepr.com

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