Toronto, ON – August 26, 2021 – After successfully welcoming back spectators to The Queen’s Plate this past weekend, Woodbine Entertainment’s 2020 ‘QP @ Home’ campaign has been named a finalist for the Best Use of Instagram in the third annual Hashtag Sports Awards presented by Budweiser.
Without spectators being permitted to attend The Queen’s Plate in 2020, Woodbine Entertainment developed and executed a digital strategy to bring the prestigious event’s traditions of music, fashion, gourmet food and drinks, and thrilling horse racing directly to fans across the country.
Other finalists for the Best Use of Instagram for Hashtag Sports Awards includes the New Jersey Devils’ ‘Devils Become Meme Lords’, Overtime’s ‘Hot Clock’, the NBA’s ‘Instagram’s Highest-Performing Year Ever, ESPN’s ‘SportsCenter on Instagram’ and WWE on Instagram. Winners will be announced in September 2021.
The Queen’s Plate, the first leg of the OLG Canadian Triple Crown, is the longest-continuously run Thoroughbred stakes race in North America. This year was the 162nd Edition.
Living largely on Instagram, Woodbine Entertainment partnered with a stable of multi-platform content creators, celebrities and musicians to contribute unique #QueensPlate inspired content to bring the experience home.
Leading up to the big day, Instagram was used to ”invite” Canada to host their own celebrations through online contests, recipes, fashion insights and wagering tips.
On September 12th, The Social’s Melissa Grelo hosted a “party” on Instagram Live while creator and Woodbine accounts shared racing content, lifestyle videos and exclusive live “look-ins” to their celebrations.
Sponsors Moxie’s Bar & Grill hosted COVID-19 friendly events on select patios across the country along with providing 12 fans the chance to see The Reklaws perform an intimate concert.
In place of the traditional on-track concerts, music videos were filmed at the racetrack and shared on Instagram through the “Woodbine Sessions” featuring Universal Music artists Ryland James and Jade Eagleson.
Ryland James “Water” – The Woodbine Sessions
Jade Eagleson “Boom Town” – The Woodbine Sessions
Fans new to wagering were invited to “play along” with their favourite personalities on the innovative Dark Horse Bets app. Built for the next generation of racing fans, Dark Horse Bets uses artificial intelligence to simplify the wagering experience for new players.
QP @ Home generated 18 million impressions across social media and saw a 30 percent increase to Woodbine Entertainment’s Instagram followers. The uniquely developed content drove 400,000 video views with a 12 percent average engagement rate across Woodbine Entertainment & Partner/Creator channels.
On September 12th, more than 24,000 fans tuned in to the Instagram Live & #QueensPlate became trending nation-wide on social. With the help of sponsors, Woodbine Entertainment hosted its largest contest to-date generating 1.8 million impressions, over 3,600 entries & resulting in a 7.8 percent increase in Instagram followers from the contest alone.
The overall growth in followers and engagement directly impacted wagering, a key pillar for the business. The Queen’s Plate generated $14.5 million in wagering, the third highest handle in history and saw a four times increase in activity on Dark Horse Bets on September 12th. The event also successfully engaged the coveted 25 to 44-year-old demographic, including 40% female, aligning to Woodbine Entertainment’s objective to engage new, more diverse fans to horse racing and wagering.
The Queen’s Plate broadcast on CTV and TSN had over 1 million Canadians tune-in at some point during the show.
Jim Lawson, CEO, Woodbine Entertainment
“Not being permitted to host spectators at The Queen’s Plate last year motivated us to ensure that the exciting traditions of the event that so many Canadians love would live on. Through QP @ Home, we delivered everything a guest would experience at a typical Queen’s Plate right to the palm of our fans’ hands.”
“QP @ Home was also an important strategy to reach beyond our core and connect with an entirely new demographic. Overall, we were very pleased about the results and are proud to be a finalist for the Hashtag Sports Awards – in large part thanks to our fans.”