EPLAYOFFS

Short List
TitleEPLAYOFFS
BrandTELIA
Category D02. Sports: Live Experience
Product/ServiceTELIA ESPORTS
Entrant TBWA\HELSINKI, FINLAND
Idea Creation TBWA\HELSINKI, FINLAND
Idea Creation 2 TELIA Helsinki, FINLAND
Idea Creation 3 FINNISH HOCKEY LEAGUE Helsinki, FINLAND
Idea Creation 4 ASSEMBLY ORGANISING OY Helsinki, FINLAND
Idea Creation 5 MTV Helsinki, FINLAND
Media Placement TELIA Helsinki, FINLAND
Media Placement 2 MTV Helsinki, FINLAND
PR TBWA\HELSINKI, FINLAND
Production TBWA\HELSINKI, FINLAND
Production 2 FINNISH HOCKEY LEAGUE Helsinki, FINLAND
Production 3 ASSEMBLY ORGANISING OY Helsinki, FINLAND
Post Production TBWA\HELSINKI, FINLAND
Credits
Name Company Position
Mikko Santonen TBWA\Helsinki Creative Planner
Jere Saulivaara TBWA\Helsinki Senior Creative
Laura Paikkari TBWA\Helsinki Creative Director
Heidi Vilkman TBWA\Helsinki Project Manager
Jyrki Poutanen TBWA\Helsinki Chief Creative Officer
Mikko Pietilä TBWA\Helsinki Executive Creative Director
Heikki Karstu TBWA\Helsinki Junior Copywriter
Iiro Hokkanen TBWA\Helsinki Director
Henrik Storsjö TBWA\Helsinki Editor
Saana Sundberg TBWA\Helsinki Junior Communications Specialist
Aija Saha Liiga / Finnish Hockey League Marketing Manager
Riku Kallioniemi Liiga / Finnish Hockey League CEO
Niklas Segercrantz Telia Commercial Manager – Esports
Mikko Kaarttinen Telia New Business Initiatives & Strategy
Hanna Forsström Telia Head of Consumer Marketing
Kati Riikonen Telia VP, Head of Marketing & Analytics
Aija Rainio Telia Marketing Manager
Markus Autero MTV Head of Sports
Jarno Salmivuori MTV Account Manager
Jukka Raatikainen MTV Vice President, Pay Content and Sport Rights
Lassi Nummi Assembly CEO
Juha Lahti Assembly Executive priducer
Ville Nokkonen Assembly Social Media Producer

Why is this work relevant for Entertainment?

ePlayoffs merged traditional sports and esports in a unique way. For the first time a traditional sports series was finalised with the help of esports. This execution brought esports in front of new audiences in an approachable way and made Finns fall in love with the emerging trend. As an end result, Finnish sports scene changed for good. The success of ePlayoffs inspired two biggest Finnish sports leagues – Liiga in ice-hockey and Veikkausliiga in football – to start their own esports leagues with Telia's esports brand Telia Esports Series. 'eLiiga' and 'eFutisliiga' will launch in November 2020.

Background

Ice Hockey is a part of Finnish national identity. At the heart of local hockey love is the Finnish Hockey League, which culminates every spring in playoffs and championship games followed intensely by fans. Unfortunately everything ground to a halt when coronavirus made its way to Finland and Finnish Hockey League was cancelled. Finnish telco brand Telia has been an active figure in developing the Finnish esports scene by hosting the largest esports series in Finland called Telia Esports Series. Telia saw an opportunity for esports to come to the rescue and bring joy to disappointed hockey fans. With the execution Telia wanted to bring entertainment to audiences during a stressful period of time and to bring esports in front of new audiences. The aim was to prove that esports is a credible form of sport that deserves its place among traditional sports.

Describe the creative idea

Finnish Hockey League, as many other leagues around the world got cancelled due to coronavirus outbreak. As an enthusiastic hockey nation, the people in Finland took it hard. It was then decided that the league wouldn’t get cancelled after all, but played online with EA’s NHL 20 console game. The ePlayoffs were presented by Finland’s largest esports league, Telia Esports Series hosted by Finnish telco brand Telia. The ePlayoffs were designed to be identical to the original league broadcasts to make them as approachable as possible to hockey fans not familiar with esports. The execution hosted the original teams, followed the original playoffs match schedule and were broadcasted in national television during prime time. The games were also streamed on Twitch for hockey fans around the world.

Describe the strategy

To reach the mainstream audience, ePlayoffs were designed to be as easily approachable as possible to hockey fans and audiences not familiar with esports. Telia set its focus to build a phenomenon that would bring joy to disappointed fans during a stressful period and familiarise new audiences to the developing esports scene. To achieve this, the end result needed to be identical to the original playoffs and follow the original match schedule. The greatest barriers to the execution of the strategy were an extremely tight schedule and a minuscule overall budget. This framework directed the way the strategy was to be executed. Focus was to be set on utilising all partners' channels and earned media effectively to gain momentum and visibility organically.

Describe the execution

The execution of ePlayoffs was identical to the original playoffs. All the original teams were included and the matches followed the same match schedule as was planned for the original playoffs. The studio environment and hosts and casters were also familiar to audiences from traditional Liiga broadcasts. Alongside familiar faces, Finnish esports personalities were included in the broadcasts to bring relevant insights to the experience. EXECUTION TIMELINE * 13.3. FHL season is cancelled
 * 17.3. Idea is created and the planning ensues * 25.3. All relevant materials are produced and the final type of execution is decided.
 * 31.3. Announcement * 8.4. ePlayoff games begin
 * 25.4. Finals and championship for the season is finalised. ePlayoffs consisted of six broadcasts which were preceded by a large-scale content push by all involved. The matches were shown in linear TV, online TV -services and Twitch.

Describe the outcome

ePlayoffs earned wide coverage in international media, won Finnish hockey-fans over and brought much needed joy in the midst of a global pandemic. The matches were viewed by over 300,000 unique viewers which is comparable to traditional playoffs. Earned media was worth 3 462 210€ and reach went up to 374 292 933 impressions. Brand awareness of Telia Esports Series catapulted from 21 % to 41 % among all Finns following the campaign. ePlayoffs brought Telia's long-term vision a step closer: to make esports a mainstream sport in Finland. ePlayoffs changed the course of Finnish sports culture. Following the success of ePlayoffs, Finland's two largest sport sports leagues – Liiga in ice-hockey and Veikkausliiga in football – both decided to start their own esports leagues in collaboration with Telia Esports Series. 'eLiiga' and 'eFutisliiga' will launch in November 2020.