TikTok replaces Scotiabank on Maple Leafs’ helmets

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In the countdown to Wednesday’s season-opening puck drop, the Maple Leafs sensed a TikTok in their heads.

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Actually, on their helmets, as the club unveiled its new one-year integrated partnership with the popular global content platform. The TikTok logo replaces last year’s sponsor Scotiabank, a definite departure from the financial institutions, phone companies and health providers whose stamp was on head gear when the NHL began allowing such ads over the past year. But the deal goes far beyond the decal.

“As a team we’re interested in connecting with our younger generation of fans and doubling down on our ‘next generation’ games,” said Jordan Vader, vice-president of global partnerships for Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment. “They’re a social and entertainment platform and we’ll be engaging with them for content in our pre-game and   intermissions.

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“We’re thinking of other ways to bring the brand to life. You’ll see them in other camera-visible media assets, on digital activations around the venue. TikTok is very popular in the Toronto food culture and we’re thinking of other unique ways we can tie the (Scotiabank) food and venue experience to fans on it as well.

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“It’s an opportunity to take a sticker on a helmet and turn it into something more meaningful.”

TikTok was founded in China in 2016, but has an independent Canadian office in Toronto, which MLSE had initially approached to promote all its pro franchises. That expanded to this deal, which Vader thinks is the only one of its kind in the league pending the other 31 teams announcing their helmet sponsor agreements this week.

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“Sports fans around the world come to TikTok to find unique content from their favourite teams, players and leagues, and to celebrate their love of the game,” Daniel Habashi, general manager of TikTok Canada, said in a release. “Hockey content has had a meteoric rise on the platform, with (hashtag) #hockey garnering over eight billion views on TikTok. We’re excited to partner with MLSE to open up the sport and team to our more than one billion users.”

The partnership will include concession items inspired by TikTok trends available exclusively at Scotiabank. MLSE’s other teams will be included in the rollout during the 2021-22.

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