August 6, 2016

Olympian Onboard

Ryan Fry already knows firsthand the power an Olympic gold medal and how it can open doors and generate conversations.

And now Fry and the Winnipeg Blue Bombers hope they can parlay that magic further in a new partnership. Fry – the Winnipeg-born member of Brad Jacobs’ gold medal curling squad from the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia – has been brought aboard the Bombers’ sales team as an account executive/corporate sponsorship representative to generate interest in both Investors Group Field and the football club in the Toronto area, where he is now based.

“It’s not just the facility that is the selling part of the Bombers,” began Fry, who was in Winnipeg this week and attended Wednesday’s win over Hamilton.

“The fan base here is exceptional and there are Bomber fans right across the country.”

Ryan Fry

“It’s about the amount of exposure you get in-venue and on TSN. There’s tons of room for impressions and tons of room to give these sponsors a lot of bang for their buck. I don’t think it’s the easiest sell, but I do think having the Olympic medal and having a pretty decent network in Toronto will help. Plus, I already do a lot of promotional stuff for our team.

“I’ve got a pretty good network and it’s going to be about slowly building it now for the team.”

Fry has been a winner at every level of curling. He twice skipped Manitoba’s entry at the Canadian Junior Curling Championships as well as two teams at the Safeway Select. He’s curled with some of this country’s most accomplished rinks, including Jeff Stoughton, Brad Gushue, and now Jacobs, and he has eight Brier appearances to his credit representing Manitoba, Newfoundland & Labrador and Northern Ontario.

He’s also been hustling deals for the Jacobs rink, and he believes that kind of network can also benefit the Bombers and the organization.

Ryan Fry

“It could be seen as a little bit of a tough sell in that market, but we believe having a guy there in Toronto helps gives the Bombers a presence and gives us a leg up on getting some things done,” said Fry. “There is a provincial presence with every team, but there’s also opportunity to get a national profile. Hopefully I can do my part.

“A lot of these Toronto corporate decision makers are really looking for something they can invest their money in that they’re going to get a return on. Sometimes you have to look outside the box and that could be looking at CFL teams outside of Ontario.

Ryan Fry“Hopefully, if things work out, it will all go according to the plan Wade and I have.”

Fry will be back on the pebbled ice soon, as he and the Jacobs’ rink amp up their quest to the return to the Olympics again, with the 2018 Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea qualifying cycle beginning in the fall.

“We’re ready to go,” said Fry. “We hit the ice on September 15th and it’s straight through from there. Wade and the organization have been generous in understanding I’m still competing but I might have something to offer as well. The more I win I think it helps, too.”

As for the chances of a little cross-promotion – perhaps with a Bomber logo somewhere on Team Jacobs’ uniform – Fry grinned.

“You never know,” he said with a chuckle. “If I sell enough, maybe I can talk Wade into that.”