Toronto Raptors enlist Drake as part of rebrand
September 30, 2013 | Russ Martin | Comments
The rapper and Degrassi alumni will act as a “global ambassador” for the Raptors, consulting with management on the look and feel of the Raptors brand as the team begins a two year rebranding process.
Speaking Monday at a press conference in Toronto, Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment (MLSE) president and CEO Tim Leikweke said he expects to debut new uniforms and team colours “the season after next.”
Leikweke said he is currently working with the NBA on establishing a firm timeline for the rebrand, noting the Raptors will have to register new trademarks in over 200 countries in order to move forward.
The rebrand comes ahead of the 2016 All-Star Game, which MLSE announced will be held in Toronto. It is the first time the All-Star game has been held outside of the U.S.
As part of its partnership with Drake, Leikweke said the franchise is considering fashion, food and film co-branding opportunities, adding that one of the primary reasons the Raptors were interested in Drake is the way he “preaches the gospel” of Toronto as a first-rate global city, an image he’d like the team’s marketing to reflect.
As part of the new gig, Drake will receive an office in Toronto next to Leikweke’s, though the musician acknowledged his touring and promotion schedule will be a challenge. “Obviously I won’t always be able to be in the building, but I’m extremely dedicated to this as a new job,” he said. “I’m not just here for all the cameras.”
Drake said he has only had “initial meetings” with MLSE on how he’ll be involved in the promoting the team but said he’d like to be as involved as possible and will use technology to attend meetings when he’s out of town. “The opportunity to be part of this NBA franchise at home excites me more than anything,” he said.
The partnership recalls the rapper Jay-Z’s involvement in promoting the Brooklyn Nets, a team he once had part ownership in, including the song and corresponding campaign “Hello Brooklyn.”
At the press conference, Leikweke joked Drake is, “smarter than Jay-Z. He didn’t have to buy the team to get all the perks and benefits.”