It was a matter of time.
For the first time in team history, Toronto Raptors jerseys will feature an advertiser’s logo, as the team announced it has expanded its partnership with Sun life Assurance Company of Canada.
“We’re thrilled to announce this new, first of its kind partnership with the Raptors and MLSE,” said Lisa Ritchie, senior vice-president & chief marketing officer, Sun Life Financial. “These are great brands coming together, connecting with fans of the game and encouraging Canadians from coast to coast to live a healthy and active lifestyle. I look forward to the 2017-18 Raptors season when we officially launch this exciting program in support of diabetes and wellness.”
A Sun Life patch will appear on the front left shoulder of Raptors jerseys, home and away, beginning next season. It’s a part of a new three-year league-wide jersey sponsorship pilot program.
“This is an exciting time in Raptors’ history and we’re thrilled to share it with Sun Life, an iconic Canadian brand who has been a trusted partner of ours over the past seven years,” said David Hopkinson, chief commercial officer, Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment. “This partnership, while breaking new ground, puts an important issue affecting our community first and represents an initiative that we can all take great pride in.”
The Raptors and Sun Life will also roll out a program in support of diabetes awareness and prevention. So it’s not all bad.
But let’s be real. This is not some kind of charity initiative. This is an advertisement for an insurance company.
It’ll be interesting to see how fans respond to the new sponsorship. Ads on jerseys are a staple in Europe, but have been a no fly zone in most North American sports leagues.
The CFL has featured a small advertiser’s logo on their jerseys for a few years now, but the NHL, NFL, and MLB have stayed away from them.
Here’s a look at how the Sun Life logo will appear on their home and away jerseys:
— Toronto Raptors (@Raptors) July 6, 2017
— Dean A. Connor (@DeanAConnor) July 6, 2017
As much as fans aren’t going to like this – nobody likes ads – if you’re going to roll out an advertisement on a jersey, this is the way to do it. It’s subtle. The patch it small, the colours are the same as the team.
But is this it, or just the first step?