Following the unveiling of the team’s new OVO-edition uniforms on Friday, the Toronto Raptors and Drake announced plans to grow their partnership so that it gives back to the city and the game of basketball while continuing to deliver an elevated experience for fans.
Drake and Raptors president Masai Ujiri announced the new program, that will celebrate the future of art, culture and basketball under the banner ‘Welcome Toronto’, just before the Raptors tipped off against the Detroit Pistons at Air Canada Centre on Wednesday night.
The partnership will see the team host a total of six ‘Welcome Toronto’ and OVO-themed home games this season, where the Raptors will wear their new OVO-edition uniforms and debut a new black and gold home court beginning with games on Friday, January 26 against the Utah Jazz and Sunday, January 28 against the L.A. Lakers. The Welcome Toronto program will also see Drake and the Raptors donate $1 million to refurbish local community basketball courts and another $2 million to Canada Basketball.
“Over the past four years, the Raptors’ relationship with Drake has always ultimately been about celebrating this city and the people that make it unique,” said Ujiri. “We have something very special happening in Toronto and Drake is a big part of that. We’re looking forward to this opportunity to continue working together to inspire and support young people, to showcase this great city around the world and to grow the game of basketball.”
The Raptors and OVO have pledged $1 million over the next three years to refurbish and refresh local community basketball courts. For each of the next three years, four local community courts will be selected for a capital investment with the first four court locations announced later this month.
Over the next five years, the Raptors and OVO will contribute a total of $2 million to Canada Basketball to continue the team’s long-standing support of the development of the sport from the grassroots level to the national program.
“As this team and Toronto continues to grow, we have seen how much we can do together,” said Drake. “Welcome Toronto is about celebrating our team and our city, but also working together to give back to the community and creating a place where the youth of our city can come together to play. These same courts could also potentially shape the next generation of Canadian basketball superstars.”
The Raptors will host six OVO-themed ‘Welcome Toronto’ home games throughout the 2017-18 season, beginning with games on January 26 against the Utah Jazz and January 28 against the LA Lakers, as well as Friday, February 2 (vs. Portland Trail Blazers); Friday, March 9 (vs. Houston Rockets); Friday, March 23 (vs. Brooklyn Nets) and Friday, April 6 (vs. Indiana Pacers).