For those who have been living under a rock, Capital One is the title sponsor of the Capital One Grand Slam of Curling. To recap, the elite series of men’s and women’s cashspiels started off as a major thorn in the Canadian Curling Association’s side, but years of gradual discussions has paved the way to an informal relationship. Most recently, the Slams have been included in CCA high-performance strategy, as a valuable training and scouting ground for the association’s 2010 Olympic planning.
Now comes word that Capital One has joined the CCA sponsor family – as a supplier, officially – making them a formal member of the Season of Champions.
This is awesome on so many levels.
First, any possible notion that bitterness remains between the former foes – the CCA and the World Curling Tour and Players’ Association – simply cannot exist. The Grand Slam is the crown jewel of the Tour and Players’ Association (as owned and executed by Toronto’s Insight Sports) and Capital One now has its foot in the same door that welcomes Tim Hortons, Kruger Products (Scotties), M&M Meat Shops and more.
Second, the deal gives the CCA its first financial services partner since CIBC, which owned naming rights to the Canadian Mixed far too many years ago.
Third, Capital One’s tight relationship with the athletes – see the latest evidence of that here – will continue to rub off on the CCA, which has already made great strides in reconnecting with those who actually play the game on TV… the boob tube being, of course, the sport’s main revenue-generating vehicle and, historically, the strongest tie to the public.
Fourth, look carefully at the deal. Capital One will not sponsor a SoC championship – why would they, when they have have the Slams? – but, rather, is the host of the official credit card of Canadian curling. But there’s more… they’re also a CCA development partner, through the Rocks and Rings program.
This is very cool.
Development partners are hard to find. Because development is, in the eyes of marketers, not very sexy. Capital One, to their credit, already executes a development program, through the Slam’s “School of Rock”, in which athletes work with thrilled kids on the Slam ice surface at each event.
CCA development programs could use a shot in the arm, and perhaps Capital One is aiming to help deliver Rocks and Rings on a grander, national scale?
Fifth, allow yourself to imagine more and more rewards – starting next season, hopefully – for earning points on the Curling Platinum MasterCard…
Sixth, and possibly number one in the long run, is this. The successful negotiation and confirmation of any major sports sponsorship deal – given the current economic climate – makes curling stand tall and rather proud today, even as the rest of the sports world seems to be falling apart (see also this… and this… and this).
Finally, we note that the Rocks and Rings program – which brings the world of curling to a school for a full day, and for only $150 – is not owned by the CCA, but by a third party… namely Chad McMullan, the proprietor of Rock Solid Productions. Great to see McMullan add a second venture, in addition to the Toronto-based corporate outings, to his all-curling stable of properties.
Whew. Anything else… for now, anyway?
• Here’s Women of Curling Calendar girl Chrissy Cadorin in action at yesterday’s Ontario Scotties. Odd, that Cogeco TV coverage. The OCA considers it sponsored by Scotties; the main Cogeco website considers it to be sponsored by Scotties; but there is zero mention of the sponsor on the actual broadcasts of the “2009 Ontario Women’s Curling Championship” …
• Dean Ross defeated Dan “Hit Man” Petryk to grab the last spot into the Alberta provincial. The 2008 Mixed champ – who finished fifth with Susan Connor at the first World Mixed Doubles hosted in Finland last March – will make his third Alta men’s appearance. There’s more on Ross here …
• Will veteran Ontario front-ender Kim Moore – lately throwing second for Sherry Middaugh – be hanging them up after the current drive for Vancouver? Moore also talks about losing the 1997 STOH final to Sandra Schmirler, and how she still hasn’t watched the videotape of that game …
• Longtime curling bureaucrat – and high-performance competitor – Amber Holland now has the top curling job in Saskatchewan …
• We’ve got more on the story of Million Dollar Button competitor Ron Trottier, courtesy of CBC Sports host Scott Russell, who has a new blog entry online …
• And finally… Glow Curling isn’t really that new – we promoted its first appearance in Alberta a couple of years ago – but the photo recently taken by Troy Fleece of the Regina Leader-Post, shown here, deserves a highlight. We wanna play!