With Toronto’s so recently dubious hockey team carving an entirely new storyline into this season’s ice, along with basketball tipping in after a terrible drought, soccer winding down with Toronto in the spoiler seat, football finding its stadium legs and baseball gearing up for the Really Big Games, North America has hit a sweet spot for the sports-loving public.
In other words: a not-to-be-missed opportunity for companies to capitalize on the congregational powers of pro sports.
Forget the done-to-death betting pools and fantasy teams. Today’s clever managers can exploit their staffers’ passion for their local clubs with truly creative team-building initiatives that invite employees to coalesce around a common source of fervour.
Here’s the pitch:
Right off the bat, if your company includes shifts that coincide with big games, consider wheeling a monitor into the breakroom for employees’ viewing pleasure. You might make it clear that it wouldn’t be so cool to find the controller lounging in front of it munching cheezies through the entirety of the match, but that it’s there for breaktime viewing and occasional check-ins. It’s a pretty fine gesture for folks working the game-time shifts.
On big game days (Raptors’ home opener, Leafs’ Stanley Cup final, etc.), make it a party at work. Host a lunchtime potluck with the team as the theme. Think: Tavares Tarragon Chicken and Kawhi Leonard Linguine.
Make game days automatic jersey days at the office. Don’t leave the Leafs guy and the Habs guy in the boardroom without neutral supervision.
If treating your team to a courtside pro night out is too rich for your blood, consider a more modest trip to a junior-category event. University and college-level games can be just as entertaining as the majors. Rent a game bus so you have something to pour Dave from AR into at the end of the night.
Do one better than simply dangling game tickets as incentives for meeting corporate targets with sports trivia lunches (done on the spot, without benefit of electronic assistance). Don’t know who Bill Barilkois? You’d better learn.
Hold an afternoon cupcake contest on nights when favourite teams compete, with employees submitting the baked-good representations of their allegiance. There’s something about a game-day Maple Leaf-frosted cupcake that elevates it above a humdrum banana cream.
If you’re planning a program of motivational speakers, include an athlete in your mix. You might be surprised how easy it is to nab an old-timey golfer or a one-time Triple-A superstar.
Few things have the power to coalesce and motivate a group of humans more than the prospect of their hometown team making it big in a public arena. For companies whose employees are disparate functionaries sharing corporate real estate, this is just the ticket.