By Patricia Dabrowski

With Valentine’s Day and the NBA All-Star weekend fast approaching, it’s appropriate to pay tribute to the two biggest icons in the “6ix” at the moment: Drake and the Toronto Raptors.

In 2013 Drake was announced as the new Raptors spokesperson and global ambassador.

Here are three big PR victories Drake has scored for the Raptors brand.

The OVO Brand

On Aug. 2, 2015, Drake wore a Raptors jersey with a new black and gold colour scheme to his OVO Fest concert, prompting much applause from fans. Two days later, the Raptors rebranded with four different jersey colours, including the black and gold OVO colour scheme.

On Nov. 13, 2015, Drake started a clothing line meshing his October’s Very Own brand with Raptors merchandise. According to NBA figures, the gear sales have never been higher. Forbes reports the Raptors brand is now worth $101 million, a 34 per cent increase since last year.

Target Audience

As the Raptors’ spokesperson, Drake has targeted not only a younger audience but a global audience as well. He was the number one searched artist on YouTube in 2015. This has had tremendous influence on brand exposure and put Toronto on the map. To this day, Drake’s globally popular social media continues to flood with pictures of the Raptors and #WeTheNorth quotes.

Drake Nights

Annual “Drake Nights” have been hosted by the rapper at the Air Canada Centre: special home games where he pays tribute to the Raptors fan base and amps up the city for the night. Fans attending the game receive free OVO and Raptors gear, such as shirts and sweatbands, and get to experience an enthusiastic atmosphere hosted by “the boy” himself. Tickets to these events sell out quickly, as everyone from in and out of Toronto hopes to be a part of the hype. The most recent Drake Night featured a Hotline Bling video box and a very special attendee, Toronto councillor Norm Kelly (the 6ix “dad”).


(Photo credit: Flickr/Shaheen Karolia)