Games players

Although it is unlikely next year's Commonwealth Games in Victoria will electrify the public the way the 1954 Empire Games in Vancouver did when Britain's Roger Bannister cracked the four-minute mile, the August 1994 event is already generating plenty of interest.Herb...

Although it is unlikely next year’s Commonwealth Games in Victoria will electrify the public the way the 1954 Empire Games in Vancouver did when Britain’s Roger Bannister cracked the four-minute mile, the August 1994 event is already generating plenty of interest.

Herb Marshall, director of sales, broadcast group, API Canada in Toronto, says beginning in July, Maclean’s magazine will devote one page a month to profiling the athletes competing in Victoria, and will publish an extra edition based entirely on the Games.

Marshall says the Globe and Mail is in on the action, too, with three Games supplements planned, one this year and two next.

He says api is selling tv advertising time for the Victoria Commonwealth Games Society at lower than usual prices for this type of event at that time of year.

However, he says by the end of June, the time will rise to ‘regular prices,’ – rates usually associated with that type of television.

Marshall says the size of the increase will depend on how well the lower-cost, early sign-up works.

He says if sales are slow then the increase will not be as high as if ad time were selling well.

One media insider suggests the reason for the Victoria Games lower-cost strategy is advertising sales competition with The CTV Television Network and its coverage of the 1994 Winter Olympics from Lillehammer, Norway.

The Games Society bought a block of advertising time from cbc tv, host broadcaster of the 12-day sporting event, and is selling it through API Canada.

Peter Kretz, general manager of marketing and sales at cbc tv, says selling a block of advertising time to a reseller such as the Games Society is not unheard of.

‘It is unusual, but it is not a precedent,’ says Kretz, who points out the Canadian Football League has sold its own tv ad time in the past.

Moreover, says the media insider, the Games Society has had research help from Toronto media buying house Harrison Young Pesonen and Newell.

Kretz says cbc tv will ensure the execution of Victoria Games commercials, suggesting the Games Society went the independent sales route to maximize air time/on-site potential for sponsors.

Marshall says the average spot audience of adults 18 to 49 is expected to be 600,000 for the Victoria Games.

He says the worldwide audience is a projected 300 million.

Marshall says one of the Victoria Games sponsors, Canon Canada, is already using the Games logo on its advertising.

Other well-known sponsors signed so far are Labatt Breweries of Canada, Kodak Canada, General Motors of Canada, IBM Canada, Canada Post and Seiko Canada.

The media insider says the cost of the Games Society’s gold sponsorship package is about $1.2 million.

The last time the Commonwealth Games were held in Canada was in 1978 in Edmonton. They were held in 1990 in Auckland.