17 Oct Touring across Canada with The Athletic
This past week, the Athletic hit the road for the inaugural Athletic Cross Canada Tour. Between September 22 and 28 the company partnered with Homestand Sports to host events for subscribers across Canada, making stops in Winnipeg, Edmonton, Calgary, Vancouver, Montreal, Toronto and Ottawa.
The events were part of an effort to interact with readers, which has been integral to the site’s success. All of the nights were well attended and brought with them lively crowds who created a fun atmosphere.
As the Editor-in-Chief of The Athletic Canada, James Mirtle says he recognizes the importance of events like this as a way to continue the strong relationship between the site and its readers.
“The reason why people are signing up for The Athletic is that we’ve tapped into what people want to read and what sports fans want to see,” said Athletic Canada Editor-in-chief James Mirtle. “Certainly getting out and actually shaking their hands, taking pictures with them and actually talking with them that’s a big part of it.”
Mirtle was on panels at both the Toronto event at The Rec Room and in Ottawa at Sens House. The Ottawa event, in particular, stood out to him.
“That’s the first time I’ve done an event outside of Toronto and you could see that the brand and what we were trying to build [at The Athletic Toronto] is spreading and starting to take root in other cities as well,” he said.
Leah Hextall of the Athletic Winnipeg was also impressed by how quickly the site’s popularity has grown in that city considering it only just recently moved into the market. She described a packed house at The Pint in Winnipeg, one which engaged thoughtfully with the panels.
She says the event gave The Athletic staff a chance to learn what their audience is interested in and talking about on a daily basis direct from the source.
“The best part of the evening for me was the conversations after we finished [the panel] when people were just sitting around talking about sports,” said Hextall. “It gave me a really strong view of what sports fans here in Manitoba were looking for.”
The same can be said for Mike Halford of The Athletic Vancouver. He said the events got back to what sports are supposed to be all about, regardless of whether you cover or consume them, which is fun.
“The walls are knocked down,” he said of his interaction with subscribers. “It’s not an event where it’s very button up, and you’re not going by a script. Everyone is there to shoot the shit, drink beer and talk about hockey.”
The Athletic and Homestand Sports will be partnering again on October 3 when they host a viewing party and panel at The Rec Room in Toronto before the NHL season opener between the Montreal Canadiens and Toronto Maple Leafs. You can RSVP to this free event by clicking here.