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BMO nets sponsorship deal with Toronto Raptors

Left to right: Toronto Raptors Rudy Gay, Jonas Valanciunas and DeMar DeRozan on the team’s media day on Sept. 30, 2013. BMO announced a multi-year sponsorship deal with the team on Oct. 29, 2013.

Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press

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Bank of Montreal is grabbing a bit of home-court advantage.

The bank's logo will soon be placed on the Toronto Raptors' court at the Air Canada Centre as part of a multi-year sponsorship deal announced on Tuesday. BMO Financial is now the official bank and title sponsor of the Raptors.

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It's an extension of BMO's relationship with the team's owner, Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment Ltd. BMO is already title sponsor of the Toronto FC soccer team and has naming rights over the team's home, BMO Field. And BMO already sponsors NBA teams the Chicago Bulls and the Milwaukee Bucks in the U.S.

In addition to the BMO brand appearing on the basketball court, it will have the right to place other advertising in the Air Canada Centre, and its name will appear on game broadcasts. (TSN and Sportsnet, which broadcast the games, are owned by Bell and Rogers, which jointly own a 75-per-cent stake in MLSE.) According to a statement the bank also plans to "offer new products to customers" in conjunction with the team.

"We are thrilled to build on the exciting momentum around the Raptors, including the team's upcoming twentieth anniversary and the NBA All Star Game coming to Toronto in 2016," BMO's chief marketing officer and head of strategy, Joanna Rotenberg, said in a statement.

The team has been in the news lately for its attempts to revitalize a losing franchise. Just last month, it announced that Toronto-born rapper Drake will consult on the team's attempts to rebrand itself and will become a "global ambassador" for the Raptors. The team made the announcement in conjunction with the news that it had won the rights to host the first NBA all-star game outside of the U.S. And the new president and CEO of MLSE, Tim Leiweke, has vowed "a cultural rebuilding across the board" for the team.

MLSE says there has been a 19-per-cent rise in television viewership for basketball games in Canada in the past year.

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