Gilmore Hosts Airbnb/MLSE Air Canada Centre Leafs & Raptors Overnight VIP Stay

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Airbnb Teams Up With Toronto Maple Leafs and Toronto Raptors to Offer Overnight Experience at Air Canada Centre


November saw Airbnb team up with Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment (MLSE) on a competition offering two people the ultimate sports weekend experience at Air Canada Centre.


MLSE owns both the Toronto Raptors NBA team and the Toronto Maple Leafs NHL side (the behemoth of Canadian hockey) and the new campaign is being fronted by Toronto Maple Leafs legend Doug Gilmour (who will also act as the host of the prize experience).


The winner will not only have unique behind-the-scenes access and platinium VIP tickets to back-to-back games: starting with the 23 January Leafs game against the Montreal Canadiens then followed by a Raptors game against the Los Angeles Clippers the next day.


And between the two matches, the pair will spend the night in an Airbnb customised suite in Air Canada Centre.


The experience includes an exclusive Maple Leafs pre-game experience with a behind-the-scenes venue tour, access to the player’s amenities, the chance to watch the pre puck-drop skate from the home team’s penalty box and a personalised player send-off in the Maple Leafs tunnel as the team takes to the ice and an invite to coach Babcock’s postgame press conference (plus a shopping spree at Real Sports Apparel).


Then, after a relaxing  night in the custom Airbnb suite that overlooks the arena, the winner will attend the Raptors’ game-day shoot-around warm-up before watching the team tackle the Clippers from courtside seats.


To enter, fans living in the Greater Toronto Area simply need to visit the new ‘Air Canada Centre’ listing on Airbnb’s standard website ( and compose an original essay (max 550 characters) outlining: ‘Why I’m the biggest Toronto Maple Leafs and Toronto Raptors Fan and what it would mean to me to stay overnight at Air Canada Centre’.


Entries must be submitted by 11:59pm on 12/15/15.


All eligible entries received will be judged by a panel of judges chosen by Airbnb according to ‘originality’, ‘creativity’, team spirit’ and ‘quality of expression’.


‘Getting the chance to spend a night at Air Canada Centre is an experience many fans have dreamed of,’ said Gilmour at the competition launch event.


‘I’m excited to host the ultimate sports weekend and share my memories of being captain of the Toronto Maple Leafs with two lucky fans.’


‘For them [the fans] to go down and sit in the penalty box to watch warmup, which nobody would see unless you’re media, and to go listen to Mike Babcock after a game … that’s going to be intense or not intense, depending on how the game goes,‘ Gilmour adds.


‘There’s also going to be chefs there, so you don’t have to go anywhere.’


An additional CSR strand of the initiative will see Airbnb, on behalf of the Toronto host community, make a $15,000 donation to MLSE Foundation (a charitable organization that helps get kids involved in sports in their community).


This donation will support the Sport For Development Centre – a massive 42,000 square-foot youth-focussed space in Toronto’s Moss Park.


‘The Toronto Maple Leafs and Toronto Raptors have some of the most loyal and passionate fans in the NHL and NBA,’ explains Airbnb Canada manager Aaron Zifkin.


‘Airbnb is pleased to offer the first ever overnight experience at Air Canada Centre in a customized suite while also providing an unprecedented behind-the-scenes experience.’




If enhancing the fan experience is the true litmus test of all good commercial partner activations then this campaign certainly tickets that box.


It is unique, desirable and offers a level of exclusivity and access that almost every sports fans longs for.


It also personifies the sponsor’s own mission statement and category approach.


Airbnb, which was founded in August of 2008, is the poster company of the so-called ‘sharing economy’ and is a self-described community marketplace for people to list, discover, and book unique accommodations around the world.


It connects people to unique travel experiences at any price point in more than 34,000 cities and over 190 countries and this competition promotes and amplifies its ‘unique, personalised stays’ mission.
It is actually a reworking of a previous activation that saw Airbnb run a similar contest in September with the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park



and in May 2015 with the Chicago Bulls at the United Center.





Airbnb Campaign Listing:


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Air Canada Centre Website:


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