Customizing an End-to-End Process for Evaluating & Securing Effective Athlete Partnerships

CASE STUDY: Toyota | Team Toyota Talent Evaluation | Olympic & Paralympic Athletes | Canada


Deploy Lumency’s Talent Evaluation Tool to identify and secure partnerships with key Canadian Olympic and Paralympic athletes to best represent Toyota in support of brand objectives.


Lumency customized a Toyota-specific end-to-end process to longlist, shortlist, evaluate, negotiate and manage the newly formed roster of Team Toyota Athletes.

Toyota’s wider goal was to leverage these partnerships to drive specific objectives in Canada and support its wider Olympic and Paralympic campaign.


Given the Olympic relationship, our task was to select a number of athletes within the parameters of ‘Canadian Olympic hopefuls.’ It was important to obtain a balanced mix of athletes from this pool and communicate to our client how much to expect to spend, what to expect in return, and understand how athletes were compared with one another. Based on budget and benchmarks of amateur athlete endorsement deals, we knew we had space for roughly 10 athletes. Then we set to work.


Lumency worked with Toyota to understand its specific objectives of creating domestic relevance, driving national awareness for Toyota’s Olympic and Paralympic partnerships, and building intimacy with Canadians to strengthen overall brand desire. This informed the basis of evaluation for all athletes.


Next, we developed a comprehensive scorecard to gather info about the athletes and gain an initial understanding of potential fit, according to several pre-set criteria (sport, gender, age, geography, etc.). Starting with a longer list of Olympic and Paralympic hopefuls, we identified over 50 potential athletes to put through the scorecard exercise


A more fulsome evaluation determined each shortlisted athlete’s potential effectiveness against said objectives. We used this value output to narrow the list down to 10 deemed the most effective, with consideration for the gap between value and anticipated asking price. We also provided a holistic POV justifying each one’s valuation, along with recommendations on how to best activate.


Operating within a fixed budget, we ranked our top 10 ideal athletes along with three alternates. We crafted—and led—a negotiation strategy to ink each endorsement deal at equitable value points. However, we reserved capital to ensure we could secure priority athletes who scored higher in our evaluation process.


We worked with Toyota and the athletes to architect the asset composition within the deal, define rights, and write the contracts. This exercise created a clear view of expectations and duties for all involved parties. We took it a step further by also actively managing the athletes’ rights, including managing the athletes’ Toyota appearance schedules, providing communication guidelines, tracking asset utilization, and planning strategic asset use across internal Toyota departments and agency partners.


When it comes to the Olympics and Paralympics, it is the athletes who humanize the movement. In other words, people anchor to the stories of the athletes, and see them as the standard-bearers for Olympic and Paralympic values.

A key insight was that the athlete’s stories would carry extra weight as it pertained to achieving Toyota’s marketing objectives.

In the midst of our scorecarding and evaluation exercises, we made sure to seek out athletes with incredible—and varied—storylines of commitment and perseverance in the face of overwhelming obstacles, especially off the field.


Leveraging our robust talent evaluation methodology, we delivered rights fee savings of 15% across the roster of athletes. Our approach delivers a consistent process to evaluate talent partnerships, regardless of talent category (athlete, entertainer, social media influencer, DJ, etc.).

A well-managed roster of athletes has provided Toyota with a platform to effectively generate and distribute always-on content across a more efficient omni-channel activation plan—even in non-Olympic/Paralympic years.


Customizing an End-to-End Process for Evaluating & Securing Effective Athlete Partnerships