The OVO Raptors | OVO Athletic Centre / by Hussein Abdullahi

Toronto Rapper Drake and the Raptors have renamed their training facility to the OVO Athletic Centre. Formerly known as the BioSteel Centre was opened in 2016 and is one of the top premier facilities in the NBA. The OVO Brand has become a staple-head fro the Toronto Raptors. Over a 5-year span Drake and the Toronto Raptors have developed an authentic partnership. In 2013 Drake was introduced as the Raptors Global Ambassador, 2 months later Toronto was selected to host the 2016 All-Star weekend. Now Toronto has eclipsed into an emerging sports market and a top-tier team in the NBA. Its exciting times for the Toronto Raptors as they clinched a berth spot for the 2019 NBA playoffs, and with the rebrand of their storied facility.

Toronto Raptors training facility is called the “OVO Athletic Centre”. Toronto Rapper Drake and the Raptors have a lasting partnership that stemmed from 2013. (Photo by: MLSE)

Toronto Raptors training facility is called the “OVO Athletic Centre”. Toronto Rapper Drake and the Raptors have a lasting partnership that stemmed from 2013. (Photo by: MLSE)

Sports are central to the culture of OVO and have the great quality of connecting people from all walks of life. This facility represents our commitment to invest in the future of sports and young athletes in Toronto.
— Oliver El-Khatib

Drake has been very influential in rebranding the raptors ball club as well as launching the “We The North” campaign. The nature of their partnership has impacted the culture of basketball across the Canadian landscape. The main objective has been to create a winning basketball culture here in Toronto as well as make social contributions to underprivileged communities in the GTA. The Welcome to Toronto program has donated $1 million to refurbish basketball courts in Toronto. $2 million was donated to Canada Basketball, which will be used to develop basketball programs across Toronto. Canada Basketball program has been progressively moved into the conversation as a prominent international program. This summer they will compete in the 2019 FIBA World Cup in China.

Toronto Raptors Global Ambassador Drake and General Manager Masai Ujiri reveil the Toronto Raptors OVO uniforms they will wear in “Welcome Toronto” home games. (Photo by The Score)

Toronto Raptors Global Ambassador Drake and General Manager Masai Ujiri reveil the Toronto Raptors OVO uniforms they will wear in “Welcome Toronto” home games. (Photo by The Score)

Drake and OVO are an important part of our city’s landscape, our team’s identity, and our plans to bring a championship to Toronto.
— Masai Ujiri
The Toronto Raptors will use the Welcome Toronto program to give back to fans, the community, and the game of basketball. (Photo by NBA)

The Toronto Raptors will use the Welcome Toronto program to give back to fans, the community, and the game of basketball. (Photo by NBA)

Drake has been very influential in reinvigorating the Raptors brand as well as launching the “We The North” campaign. This culture-crazed phenomenon has catapulted Toronto’s entertainment scene into another bracket. Toronto Raptors “Drake Night” has become a fan- favoured event for Torontonians; the atmosphere is one of a kind. In January 2018 Drake announced “Welcome Toronto”, which featured 6 OVO-themed home games every season. The Raptors will play in OVO uniforms and the black and gold designed home court. This season the Toronto Raptors have shown their ability to be a force in the eastern conference, with the rebrand of their practice facility should give them the momentum they need heading into their playoffs. Can this be the year? Let’s see what else plans the Toronto rap icon has in stores.

Thanks: Toronto Raptors, Welcomeovo, MLSE, NBA

Figure: Drake