Skip to main content
A scary good deal on trusted journalism
Get full digital access to globeandmail.com
$0.99
per week for 24 weeks SAVE OVER $140
OFFER ENDS OCTOBER 31
A scary good deal on trusted journalism
$0.99
per week
for 24 weeks
SAVE OVER $140
OFFER ENDS OCTOBER 31
// //

Cleveland Cavaliers' LeBron James (23) drives to the basket as Toronto Raptors' Jonas Valanciunas defends during second half NBA basketball action in Toronto on Wednesday, March 4, 2015.

Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press

As the popularity of basketball grows in Canada, the National Basketball Association's revenues are growing as well. Now, it will add another brand to its growing list of marketers who pay for the privilege of being associated with the NBA.

On Monday, Bank of Montreal will announce that it has signed a multi-year deal to be the first ever official bank of NBA Canada.

BMO is already a sponsor of the Toronto Raptors, as well as a number of teams in the U.S. such as the Chicago Bulls and the Milwaukee Bucks. However, team sponsorships come with certain geographical restrictions. A league sponsorship gives the bank the chance to market itself using basketball and NBA athletes across the country.

Story continues below advertisement

"Whereas two years ago basketball was a little quieter among Canadians, now it's like a war for [Raptors] tickets, there's so much excitement," said BMO's chief marketing officer, Joanna Rotenberg. "Canada is experiencing an upswing in energy around basketball – both at a participation level and also at a professional level."

The recent success of the Raptors has been attracting more Canadian brands to basketball. Game viewership is up 102 per cent compared to last year. There are other factors as well: there are now 12 Canadian players in the league, the highest number ever. The NBA All-Star game will be hosted on Raptors home turf at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto next year. And at the grassroots level, participation rates for basketball have been surging. Participation in the sport rose 16 per cent between 2010 and 2012, while hockey has been struggling to grow participation.

In roughly the past five years, NBA Canada has doubled its number of marketing partnerships. Air Miles and BCE Inc. are two other large Canadian sponsors.

"One of the things companies are keen on partnering with us on is [to reach] young, ethnically diverse consumers," said Dan Mackenzie, NBA Canada's vice president and managing director. In countries such as China and the Philippines for example, basketball's popularity has soared.

"New Canadians are coming already with an affinity for the game. In India, the league has put a lot of effort into that market in recent years, and it's growing fast," Mr. MacKenzie said. "What differentiates the NBA in this market for marketers is young, diverse."

BMO's partnership will include the launch of basketball programs for young people in 125 communities in Canada this fall.

"Some of the growth areas in Canada – newer Canadians, young Canadians … there's a segment with big money decisions ahead of them, great potential. If we connect with them, it's a win for everybody," Ms. Rotenberg said..

Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

If you do not see your comment posted immediately, it is being reviewed by the moderation team and may appear shortly, generally within an hour.

We aim to have all comments reviewed in a timely manner.

Comments that violate our community guidelines will not be posted.

UPDATED: Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies