Toronto Raptors and OVO unveil new jerseys, continue ‘Welcome Toronto’ initiative

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The Raptors and OVO are teaming up to announce the third iteration of their ‘Welcome Toronto’ promotion, a six-game spell over which the team’s snazzy new jerseys will be unveiled and local art, fashion, and music will be showcased.

Welcome Toronto will span six home games, starting with a Nov. 27 tilt against the Knicks and wrapping up on March 24 in a game against the Lakers.

On these game days, “Welcome Toronto will be the stage for stories of basketball, community, fashion, art, [and] music,” according to a release on the Raptors’ site.

For each of the six games, the team will be fitted in their brand-new OVO City Edition Uniforms. The new jerseys will be available for purchase on Nov. 27.

The OVO City jerseys are “a nod” to the Raptors’ original jersey (the jagged, semi-cursive font appears on both) and ties in the team’s twenty-fifth anniversary as well, says MLSE spokesperson Dave Haggith.

Welcome Toronto, now in its third year, was set up to further the Raptors’ and OVO’s “commitment to art, community, and ball,” the team said on its website.

The goal is to “work with local communities and the City of Toronto to inspire the next generation of leaders,” and to “ignite the culture of our game in our city.”

Over the past few years, the Raptors and OVO have doubled-down on their community outreach, most notably through their joint contribution of $1 million to “refurbish local basketball courts,” and a $2 million commitment to Canada Basketball.

This year, the Falstaff Community Centre in North York was chosen by the team, OVO, and the City of Toronto to undergo a court refurbishment.

With the renovation at Falstaff, the Raptors say, “the youth in the area will be able to… use the space as a home to be inspired on and off the court.”

Over the past few years, the Raptors have helped to revitalize the Thistletown Multi-Service Centre, the Matty Eckler Recreation Centre, the Flemingdon Community Centre, and the Malvern Recreation Centre. The team also partnered with the Hijabi Ballers in September to release a first-of-its-kind, team-branded sports hijab.

Haggith says that the Raptors are proud of their community outreach so far, but that they’re “always looking for ways to keep refreshing and expanding” the partnership with OVO, Drake, and most importantly, fans.

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Ted Fraser

Ted Fraser is a breaking news reporter, working out of the Star’s radio room in Toronto. Follow him on Twitter at @ted_fraser.

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