September 24, 2021 (TORONTO, ONTARIO) – The Toronto Ultra, OverActive Media’s (TSXV:OAM) professional Call of Duty esports team and Canada's only Call of Duty LeagueTM franchise, was recognized as Property of the Year at the Sponsorship Marketing Council of Canada’s (SMCC) 2021 Sponsorship Marketing Awards (SMAs). The award marks the first in SMCC history to be given to an esports property.
The Toronto Ultra recently celebrated an incredible season, securing a second-place finish at the Call of Duty League Championship Weekend. They are the fastest-growing Professional Sports franchise in Canada (January to September 2021) with more than 460,000 new followers and a 425% year-over-year growth across their respective social channels. In just two seasons, the Toronto Ultra has become the second most-followed team in the Call of Duty League on social media, and the first on TikTok specifically, surpassing legacy esports brands.
“Being recognized as Property of the Year by the SMCC is a huge milestone for the esports industry in Canada,” said Alyson Walker, Chief Commercial Officer, OverActive Media. “The collective team has delivered exceptional results in 2021 as demonstrated through season performance, audience growth and partner support. The Toronto Ultra provides a compelling case study for meaningful sponsorship opportunities that reach new and diverse audiences.”
The franchise has experienced significant growth since it began its inaugural season in 2020, parallel to Canada being ranked among the top five biggest Call of Duty markets in the world and seeing an increase in esports fans (up 29% year-over-year)1. This year, the Toronto Ultra more than tripled its roster of major brand partners including names like CRAVE Meals, Jack Link’s, TD and Bud Light, positioning itself as second amongst all Call of Duty teams in terms of total partnership revenue. To continue to build momentum around Toronto Ultra, a number of innovative brand activations were introduced to Call of Duty fans including the inaugural Jack Link’s $100k Warzone Payout, unique content collaborations, virtual Universal Music performances, and a virtual Home Series presented by Bell.
Launched in 2000 to recognize sponsorship marketing excellence, the SMAs have become a cornerstone of the SMCC and an anticipated event in the Canadian marketing calendar. The SMAs recognize and reward the work of properties, brands, and agencies that have maximized the return on their investments in sponsorship marketing. Past winners of the Property of the Year Award include the Toronto Raptors, Team Canada (Canadian Olympic Committee), the National Hockey League and Toronto FC.
1 Viventel “Fans on the Rise: The Esports Audience in Canada, 2020” Research Report.
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