Toronto Wolfpack, the fledgling rugby franchise, has named Pomp & Circumstance as its public relations agency of record after the firm successfully handled the team’s recent media launch.
Pomp & Circumstance had previously been tapped to handle only the team’s April 27 launch at Real Sports Bar and Grill in Toronto, but got the AOR nod after organizing a packed press conference that attracted Toronto Mayor John Tory and garnered live coverage.
It was “one of the biggest launches in Toronto in some time,” and made headlines in Australia, the U.K and U.S., says Pomp & Circumstance partner Amanda Alvaro. Alvaro says the last time she has seen that many cameras in a room was while working for Justin Trudeau during last fall’s federal election campaign, prior to the formation of Pomp & Circumstance.
The Toronto launch was preceded two hours earlier by a Google Hangout press conference with media in the U.K. because of the time difference.
Alvaro believes she and her partner Lindsay Mattick were selected because of their previous experience at Narrative PR launching Air Canada Rouge and cellular phone service Wind Mobile.
“Wolfpack was stretching a little bit outside of our comfort zone,” says Alvaro, who admits she knew “not one thing” about rugby before getting the team launch assignment. “Now I’m like a little expert.”
However, “the principles of great creative PR apply across multiple verticals,” she says. “The way we approach a great announcement is by adding a good layer of strategy, and creative thinking on it and making sure it pops and stands out.”
Billing itself as the first major-league transatlantic pro sports team, Wolfpack plans to play in the third tier of the English Rugby Football League (RFL) starting next March
Wolfpack will play its 11 home matches on the artificial turf of the 9,600-seat Lamport Stadium in Liberty Village, which has been dubbed “The Den.” Its team logo was created by MacLaren McCann.
While the team will be comprised of experienced RFL players, the team also aims to find North American players and will hold open trials in Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver and six U.S. cities starting in August.
The team “has a big runway” before it starts playing and there will be “countless announceables” that will include everything from tryouts, player announcements and ticket sales to finding ways to make the stadium more interesting for fans, Alvaro says,
“We’re finding lots of ways for them to have interesting media opportunities,” she says, noting that Wolfpack head coach Paul Rowley used a rugby ball to throw the first pitch at last Friday’s Toronto Blue Jays game.