Event | City of North Bay
The City of North Bay played host to the Ford Women’s World Curling Championship (FWWC) from March 17-25, 2018 drawing 13 teams from around the world. It was the first time North Bay has hosted a Curling Canada Season of Champions or World Curling Federation event which resulted in a $7.2 million dollar economic impact to the community. FWWC, the largest ever sporting event held in the city, attracted a record number of people for any world championship totaling nearly 70,000 in-person attendees. Given the exposure the community received as a direct result of hosting the Ford (FWWC, the City of North Bay along with community partners, Tourism North Bay, Invest North Bay Development Corporation and the North Bay & District Chamber of Commerce, capitalized on the opportunity to showcase the city as a desirable location to visit and invest. A series of complementary activities were developed in an effort to leverage the high profile FWWC, encouraging attendees, delegates, influencers, prospects and media to “Experience North Bay”.
Target Audience, Challenges & Outcome
The following initiatives were planned in conjunction with the FWWC with focus on promoting community assets and investment opportunities.
- Media Welcome Breakfast – targeted at international media and broadcasters, this northern breakfast provided opportunity for the Mayor to officially welcomed representatives to the community, showcase the North Bay Sports Hall of Fame with keynote address from local sports historian and officially launch a media portal. Developed specifically to provide visiting media with story ideas, local contacts, 4 season photography and B Role for their use during FWWC, the portal provided media with extensive local resources and gave our team the ability to collect use information and build our network.
- Community Tours – were provided to visiting media requiring footage and story ideas as well as dignitaries and prospective investors who were invited to North Bay for the festivities. Personalized tours allowed for quality time with investment prospects to address individual interests as well as showcase the city.
- VIP Networking Event – held during opening draw of FWWC with team Canada on the ice, more than 50 special guests and prospective investors enjoyed a fun filled evening reception in box suites overlooking the tournament. Not only did this provide a memorable evening of entertainment, it resulted in a company expanding their operations to North Bay. The new firm has recently begun production and aims to hire 15 new staff before the end of the year with future plans for growth.
By working with community partners such as Tourism North Bay, we were able to undertake a coordinated social media campaign which included an onsite, branded “Ice Hut” station which served as home base for contests, giveaways, fan photos and all related social media. The results of this campaign exceeded expectations as the social reach between March 16 and 28th was approximately 10,000 people per day. This reach also translated to remarkable follower post engagement increases on Facebook of over 33,000 between March 5th and April 1st, 2018. The FWWC related event activities described above were made possible as a result of the funding our team, along with partners at Tourism North Bay, were able to leverage through partner organizations and 3 funding agencies.
With over 400 volunteers needed to run the FWWC tournament, led by an outstanding local planning committee, our community of 51,000 residents rose to the challenge. Community participation exceeded everyone’s expectations including that of Curling Canada, international media and the curlers (see include sample media coverage).
As part of this submission, please take a few minutes to “Experience North Bay” through the North Bay TV commercial that aired on TSN during the event (150 million viewers) as well as the video recapping the transformation of the hockey rink to a world class curling venue, along with event invitations and photos.