Canadian rapper and pop star Drake is a major superfan for the Toronto Raptors. Born and raised in Toronto, attends all 41 home games throughout the season and has created an interesting presence on the sideline to say the least.
Drake has also shown up at other events hosted in Scotiabank Arena, such as the 2016 All Star game where, as usual, he promoted his clothing brand while also heckling and having a few laughs with the NBA stars. Although mostly Drake is there just laughing and having a good time, he has been criticized for crossing the line. While not being part of the ownership or coaching group, he has been seen patting the players and trying to start conversations with the other bench to try to get them off their game. Perhaps the funniest Drake moment was when he gave Raptors head coach Nick Nurse some shoulder rubs on the sidelines of the match.
After that game, the NBA contacted Raptors president Masai Ujiri and told him that Drake needed to be notified to calm down a little bit as the shoulder rubs were definitely not taken the right way around the league.
But Drake has a good effect on the team from a marketing and sponsorship point of view. Drake’s clothing brand, OVO has partnered with the NBA, producing jerseys having gear bundled with ticket purchases. The Raptors also agreed to rename their practice facility to OVO Athletic Centre as part of a new partnership with Drake as he had been their global ambassador since 2013.
Drake has been largely a positive story, not just for just the Raptors but for Canada ever since he decided to come back to the city where it all started for him and take a role with the organization. His outgoing and relentless personality when watching games really gives other people in Canada who may not watch basketball a different sense of the game, and you can’t deny that he makes headlines and helps drive up the viewer count when home games are broadcast on live television.
Drake is also promoting Toronto itself, and even Canada. He shows that Toronto is a first class city just as much as New York or LA. Drake and the Raptors are a partnership with plenty of mutual benefits.
Image: flickr/Shaheen Karolia