Thousands of Raptors fans will make their way tonight to Air Canada Centre to cheer on their Atlantic Division champions – from outside the arena. Through the first four games of their 2014 NBA Playoff series versus the Brooklyn Nets, Maple Leaf Square – adjacent to Air Canada Centre – has seen increasingly larger crowds gather for Raptors playoff viewing parties. Sunday saw the largest crowd yet with an estimate 4,500 fans attending the Party in the Square presented by Bell to watch Game Four on the Bremner video screen.
“The support for the Raptors this season in Toronto, and across Canada, has highlighted the fact that this is one of the most passionate markets in the NBA, and in my mind, this is just the first step in what we can accomplish,” said Tim Leiweke, President and CEO of Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment. “Together with our fans and our partners, we are working to build a consistent playoff contender so that we can look forward to this electric environment each and every year.”
Coming off a record-setting 48-win regular season, the heightened appetite for Toronto Raptors during their playoff run is evident across the board – on social media, in sales, sponsorship and on television. Some of the highlights include:
- The team kicked-off the playoffs with the launch of its ‘We The North’ campaign which instantly connected with fans, logging more than half-a-million views in the first five days of its posting.
- Social media activity around the Raptors is up 350% during the playoffs (compared with the regular season) with Facebook Likes up 160% and Twitter followers up 80%.
- Presently the club is at a 95% season seat renewal rate and has secured more than 1,500 new season seats.
- Buoyed by five new signature partnerships (Bell, BlackBerry, BMO, Canadian Tire and Cisco), the Raptors sponsorship group has seen an overall year over year growth of 34%which places the Raptors seventh in the NBA for the 2013-14 season.
The first four games of Toronto’s NBA Playoffs telecasts on TSN are averaging 640,000 Viewers 2+. The average reach of the games is at 2,859,000 and the average peak audience is 1,213,000. Game Four, with 885,000 viewers, marked the highest Toronto Raptors NBA Playoffs audience on any Specialty Network. The previous high was Game 5 vs. the Detroit Pistons in the 2002 NBA Playoffs, which also aired on TSN (612,000).
The Raptors will continue their playoff push as they host the Brooklyn Nets tonight at 7:30 p.m. The game will be broadcast on TSN and TSN 1050.