Dr. Robert Wanzel (Founding Chairman, SPAD) created the Institute for Sport Marketing after discussion with sport system professionals revealed that a Canadian database of sport marketing/sponsorship statistics was needed, but did not exist. Canada had many successful corporate partnerships with sport, but detailed information and trends for the Canadian sport marketing/sponsorship industry required further research. The sharing of such research is necessary to expand the pool of Canadian corporations that understand the value of investing in sport as an effective business strategy.
In 2001, Laurentian University’s School of Sports Administration (SPAD) started a unique project designed to analyze funding for Canadian sport, recreation, and physical activity. Committed to the development of the sport system, Royal Bank Financial Group, Pepsi-QTG, Frito Lay, the Toronto Blue Jays, Ottawa Senators, Montreal Alouettes and IMG joined with the federal and Ontario provincial government to support this project, spearheaded by the ISM. These ISM Founding Partners committed $505,000, plus $75,000 VIK, through June 2006 in the initial contract phase. From 2006-2009, the ISM has been associated with further projects and grants in excess of $500,000.
Since its inception, the ISM has employed Laurentian faculty, undergraduate, and graduate students, as well as a number of other researchers. Founder Dr. Robert Wanzel served as Director from 2001 to 2006. Dr. Norm O’Reilly, Director of the School of Sports Administration, served as Director from 2006 to 2009. He is currently the Associate Director, and was succeeded by Dr. Ann Pegoraro (former Associate Director), who is currently an Associate Professor with SPAD and Director of the ISM.
The ISM was approved as an official Laurentian University Research Center on July 18, 2007.
Some of the ISM’s past and current industry partners include: SportLink, TrojanOne (Toronto), Lakeshore Properties (Elliot Lake), Pepsi QTG (Canada) and the Canadian Sponsorship Forum (CSF, Toronto).
Past projects completed by the ISM include a series of Gatorade partnership projects, the Sponsorship Landscape Study for CSF, contributions to the Encyclopedia of Sports Marketing and Management, a study on student experience in post-secondary institutions, a study on campus food services, and a study on fan support and athlete performance. Currently ISM researchers are investigating social media use in sport, sport analytics from both team and business side, as well as researching various aspects of mega-events from a sport marketing perspective.
The future of the ISM is to fulfill its mandate to expand the knowledge base related to sport marketing in Canada. According to Dr. Pegoraro, “With the impressive history of the SPAD program and the additional of new members to the research team, the ISM has the unique potential to become a world leader in sport management research, right here in Sudbury.”