Friday, July 26, 2013 : Cosmos Sports has had an influence on a number of sports teams in many different kinds of leagues and markets since it was founded 10 years ago. In August of 2012 though, the company would take on a project unlike any they had seen in the past. The sport was Ultimate Frisbee (commonly referred to as ‘Ultimate’), and when Rob Lloyd and brother Jim bought an expansion franchise in the two-year-old American Ultimate Disc League (AUDL) and brought the sport to Toronto, they hired the team at Cosmos Sports to manage the newly formed club.
Although the sport of Ultimate is new to the professional ‘scene,’ and would be described as many as a ‘non-traditional,’ or ‘non-mainstream’ sport, the team at Cosmos Sports was able to draw upon their experience with other professional leagues and teams and hit the ground running with the Rush. Partnerships were quickly established with the Toronto Ultimate Club (TUC), the Toronto Sport and Social Club (TSSC) and the University of Toronto, all of which were very important to the success of the team. U of T’s Varsity Stadium was established as the home venue of the Rush and the TUC and TSSC provided the team with access to the approximate 10,000 ultimate players in the Toronto area. It is through these partnerships that the team could begin to market itself and spread the word about this exciting new sporting event coming to the city.
A major part of any professional sports team is its sponsors, and Cosmos Sports was able to secure some major sponsors for the Rush’s inaugural season. Telus, Subway and Domino’s headline the group of sponsors, which also included some local properties such as A&C Games and Richard Chao of Century 21. These sponsorships enabled the Toronto Rush to enhance their fans’ game-day experience by providing concessions, sweepstakes, fan giveaways and an exciting half-time show at all home games throughout the summer.
With Comsos Sports’ extensive background in ticket sales, the company was also able to implement a ticket-sales strategy that would see 489 Rush season tickets sold in the first year. The team broke and AUDL attendance record on May 4, 2013 when 2,300 fans came to Varsity Stadium to watch the Rush in the first-ever professional Ultimate game played in Toronto. The home opener was a sign of things to come for the Rush, as the Cosmos Sports team continued to sell tickets and market the team throughout the season, resulting in an average attendance of 1,000 fans per game in its first year. This success translated onto the field, where the Rush finished first place in the AUDL with a 16-0 record, and have clinched a spot in the AUDL Championship Weekend II held in Chicago August 2-4.
All throughout the season, Cosmos Sports has ensured the Rush’s presence at different high school and youth ultimate tournaments to market the team and keep the team engaged in the community. This has helped the team enjoy an abundance of media coverage in the form of print, television and radio appearances in Toronto and surrounding areas such as Hamilton and Guelph. Cosmos Sports will continue to promote the Rush through a series of Ultimate clinics throughout the summer, as well as developing strategies to keep the team visible throughout the off season months… after the team competes for a championship trophy, of course.