Tim Hortons is Canada’s largest restaurant chain, specializing in coffee and delicious donuts.

As proud Canadians and NHL partners, Tim Hortons wanted to lean into the national pastime to increase mobile app engagement and customer loyalty.

Through a partnership with gaming technology firm Boom Entertainment, the Tim Hortons NHL Hockey Challenge debuted in the summer of 2020 with the NHL’s return to play.

Since its inception, the game has been a huge hit with Tim Hortons customers, contributing to:

Among those who played the Hockey Challenge, average app engagement increased by 92.5% becoming a part of a fun, daily routine.

Among those aware of the Hockey Challenge, 60% of guests perceive Tim Hortons brand more favorably, a +30% increase over the IMI Benchmark.

High retention indicated by the average Hockey Challenge user submitting picks approximately 5 times per week.

The Process

Tims had several goals for any prospective gaming promotion:

  • Strengthening Tim Hortons’ connection to Canadian culture and the NHL
  • Increase sign-ups, usage, and retention for Tim Hortons mobile app
  • Increase usage of Tims loyalty program in the form of in-store coupon redemptions

Of course, Tims had to do this with efficiency in mind to ensure profitability for franchisees, which meant managing the costs of operating the game optimally as the NHL season unfolded.

From a gaming UX perspective, we needed something that was simple, intuitive, and fun. Ideally, a user could enter a contest in less than 30 seconds and with minimal pre-existing expertise. We achieved that with a simple pick ‘em concept -- Pick three NHL skaters to score a goal today and earn rewards for each one who does.

Boom collaborated with Tims to design game mechanics, produce an underlying math model for prize budgeting, and utilized Boom’s gaming API that power the game on an ongoing basis (e.g. available players, points awarded).

The Results

The app has been a tremendous success, exceeding all internal projections and KPIs around entries, sessions, and redemptions.

As a result of the Tim Hortons NHL Challenge’s successful first year, the game was renewed for another year with plans to make the contest even more fun and engaging for Tims guests. In fact, the game was so popular in its first year that a fan even created their own app to help other users optimize their picks.

“The NHL Hockey Challenge has exceeded all of our expectations and become a big part of our promotional calendar. We couldn’t have done it without the gaming and development expertise of Boom.

Zack Pryzbek, Senior Marketing Manager at Tim Hortons

About Boom

Boom Entertainment creates premium technology solutions for a number of top-tier brands in the sports gaming space, including NBC Sports, Penn National, and Golf.com. In each case, our partners use gaming to achieve a strategic business objective.

“We work with partners who want to better engage and monetize an audience of sports fans. Tims is a great example of finding that audience in an unexpected place, and using free-to-play gaming to drive real results.”

Greg Viverito, VP of Partnerships at Boom Entertainment.

Any brand that has sports marketing assets and an app-based loyalty program can learn from the success of the Tim Hortons NHL Hockey Challenge.

If you want to find out more about Boom, please reach out to James McLoughlin at jmcloughlin@playboomsports.com.