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Sponsor Spotlight: A Good Sport In The Community
Originally printed in Sport Quarterly, June 2008

CTV Atlantic has only been sponsoring Sport Nova Scotia for two years and already the broadcaster has made a difference—like an impact player on the field or ice.

Last year, for example, CTV personality Paul Hollingsworth, a well-known former athlete and TSN contributor, hosted the IKON Awards (you can read a list of this year’s winners on page 9). As well, Sport Nova Scotia’s KidSport™ program has received a significant boost in awareness, thanks to CTV’s on-air support.

“Our community relations mandate is to support children,” says Renée Fournier, manager of public relations for CTV Atlantic. “And while sponsoring a sports organization may not seem to fit that bill, in fact, our support of KidSport™ fits it perfectly. We strongly believe in the ability of sport to positively affect children, and we believe our community has a responsibility to help children play sports and stay active—particularly if they face financial hurdles.”

“While our programming focus is obviously on news,” says Fournier, “our community activities are enormously important to what we do as a station and as a business in the Maritimes.” In addition to Hollingsworth, other CTV personalities such as Steve Murphy, Starr Dobson, Liz Rigney, Maria Panopalis and Jayson Baxter, to name just a few, are involved with a number and variety of charitable organizations. Hosting community events are par for the course for these public figures, Fournier says, and it is just one of the many ways CTV Atlantic supports Sport Nova Scotia.

The broadcaster also offers air-time support, produces promotional spots and creates whole video presentation packages.

“We bring it all to the table,” Fournier says.

The current public awareness project from Sport Nova Scotia—“Without volunteers, kids can’t play”—got a helping hand from CTV Atlantic. Staff shot, edited and produced the successful TV spot, an integral part of this branded campaign.

“We’ve gotten a lot of positive feedback on that spot,” Fournier says.

“It’s a big investment to play some sports,” she says, adding that underprivileged kids, in particular, may be left out because of those costs.

As well, an ‘indirect benefit’ of CTV Atlantic’s sponsorship goes to increasing physical activity and general health of young people. The importance of healthy living, Fournier says, is “a message our news department gets out there consistently,” and at least one story related to healthy living appears in the daily lineup for the broadcaster’s most popular shows, whether it’s Breakfast Television, Live at Five or CTV News.

That’s not all Renée Fournier and her colleagues at CTV Atlantic are keeping an eye on, of course. The CTV network, Canada’s largest private broadcaster, takes over as this country’s official Olympic network for the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver. “We’re thrilled about that,” she says. “I love the Olympics. Watching it is a form of patriotism.”

As a former volleyball player with Mount Saint Vincent University, Fournier plans on tuning in to a variety of events this summer from Beijing, but particularly loves watching beach volleyball. Asked whether the sport has come into its own and is being taken seriously now that it’s been firmly established as an Olympic sport, she laughs and answers. “Yes. And, if you’ve ever played, you know how much athleticism is involved, especially on sand and with just two people. It deserves to be an Olympic sport.”

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