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Volume 26 No. 179
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Raptors' Corporate Partners Cashing In On Team's Playoff Run

Sun Life Financial's jersey patch deal gave the brand visibility in every close-up of a Raptors player
Photo: NBAE/GETTY IMAGES
Sun Life Financial's jersey patch deal gave the brand visibility in every close-up of a Raptors player
Photo: NBAE/GETTY IMAGES
Sun Life Financial's jersey patch deal gave the brand visibility in every close-up of a Raptors player
Photo: NBAE/GETTY IMAGES

The Raptors' involvement in the NBA Finals "represents a new apex for basketball in Canada -- and for the Raptors brand," according to Robertson, Bradshaw & Willis of the GLOBE & MAIL, who wrote under the header, "How Corporate Canada Is Cashing In On The Raptors’ Stunning Success." A '17 naming-rights deal, which "changed Air Canada Centre to Scotiabank Arena, was a whopping" C$800M over 20 years. The deal allowed Scotiabank to "take over as the official bank of the Raptors" with its "low-cost digital subsidiary, Tangerine Bank." Tangerine was a "good match for the younger, more diverse and digitally savvy Raptors fan base." When the NBA season started last fall, only 6% of Raptors fans were "aware of Tangerine," but by the start of the playoffs, that number was 40%. Tangerine President & CEO Gillian Riley suspects that number is now "well in excess" of 50%. Scotiabank "went so far as to wrap 15 of its downtown Toronto branches, and part of its headquarters, in Tangerine orange." Scotiabank also "scrambled" last week to "tweak and refresh its Raptors-themed ads, tailoring them to the team’s arrival in the Finals." Meanwhile, Raptors G Kawhi Leonard "attracted incalculable buzz" in Toronto with the release of a "very limited run of T-shirts with the words 'fun guy,' riffing on the famously stoic player’s description of himself." Sun Life Financial's jersey patch deal gave the "brand visibility in every close-up of a Raptors player" (THEGLOBEANDMAIL.com, 5/31).

BASKETBALL BOOM: THE UNDEFEATED's Jerry Bembry wrote the Raptors' run to the NBA Finals has "provided Toronto with an extreme makeover." With fans wearing Raptors jerseys and "We The North" T-shirts, one would be "challenged during these NBA playoffs to find signs" that the Maple Leafs "even exist in this city." (THEUNDEFEATED.com, 6/2). In DC, Jerry Brewer noted the NBA's only international team "finally has made it onto the biggest stage, and the Raptors arrived with a multicultural team of players representing six countries and a coaching staff with the same flavor." Raptors President of Basketball Operations Masai Ujiri is "charismatic" and Nigerian. His front office "celebrates a diversity of ethnicity and gender." Basketball has been "missing one key thing: An elite team outside" the U.S. The Raptors are "providing that now" (WASHINGTON POST, 6/2).