Posted December 30, 2013

Reports: Raptors weigh possibility of black/gold re-brand inspired by rapper Drake

Ben Golliver, Drake, Masai Ujiri, Tim Leiweke, Toronto Raptors
(Ron Turenne/Getty Images)

Rapper Drake (center) is the Toronto Raptors’ global ambassador. (Ron Turenne/Getty Images)

The Toronto Raptors are weighing the possibility of a re-branding effort that would involve a black-and-gold color scheme inspired by platinum-selling rapper Drake, according to multiple reports.

The Toronto Star reports that the new color scheme, which is utilized by Drake’s OVO Sound record label, would go into effect for the 2015-16 season if it is selected. Toronto and the Air Canada Centre will host the 2016 All-Star Weekend.

You know how they are working on the “re-branding” of everything to do with the [Raptors], right? Maybe new colours, maybe a new logo, maybe all kinds of things different for the 2015-16 season. Well, how about this: Black and gold. Now, I’m not suggesting it’s a done deal and a lot of different people and companies are coming up with a lot of different looks and styles but I was told on the weekend that black and gold is definitely something being considered. … This is by no means a done deal and there is still time for them to tinker and change and do whatever they have in this grandiose [plan] to re-invent the organization.

The Toronto Sun reports that Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment (MLSE) president Tim Leiweke said multiple looks are currently under consideration by the Raptors, who are the only NBA franchise currently located in Canada.

When asked if the black and gold scheme is the current leading contender, Leiweke told the Sun: “We are looking at a few different ideas.”

One of them would be a blue and white look, to tie in with the Maple Leafs and Blue Jays. Multiple sources said they have seen mockups featuring the black and gold design.

The organization has gone through a series of logos and jersey designs over the years, with red and purple generally serving as the dominant colors. The team currently wears white jerseys with red trim at home, red jerseys with black trim on the road, and black jerseys with red trim when they need an alternate look. The organization’s primary logo currently features a red dinosaur dribbling a basketball while wearing a white jersey; the alternate logo sports a white claw and basketball design inside a red circle. Both can be seen below via SportsLogos.net.

(SportsLogos.net)

The Raptors’ current primary logo (left) and alternate logo (right). (SportsLogos.net)

Shortly after Leiweke was hired, the longtime sports executive made it clear that the Raptors’ branding would be reevaluated. Back in June, Leiweke said the organization would consider the possibility of a nickname change,  but he told reporters in September that the “Raptors” moniker would remain. Leiweke introduced Drake as the Raptors’ “global ambassador” earlier this fall and promised a “new day” and a “new age” for the organization, which would be influenced by the Toronto-born rapper’s vision and ideas.

“There’s a reason why we are now going to submit to the league a new application for new branding and a new image and new colors,” Leiweke said. “Drake will be an ambassador and help us forge this new vision, this new buzz, this new excitement for where we’re taking this organization. … [Raptors GM] Masai [Ujiri] and I sat down and talked to [Drake] about what he views our image and our brand ought to be.  I think he sees the world the same way we do, and I think we want to activate him in the thinking of what kind of buzz, what kind of brand, what kind of logo, and what kind of future we create for this organization going forward.”

In the meantime, the Raptors are hosting a “Drake Night” for their Jan. 11 game against the Nets. The promotional artwork for the game includes the Raptors’ logo and the OVO Sound logo in black and gold.

“I’m really out here with the people, I’m in touch with what they want to see,” Drake said in September. “I really just want excitement for this team. I want us to be one of the biggest teams in the league.”

(Raptors.com)

The Raptors are hosting a “Drake Night” in January. (Raptors.com)

The New Orleans Hornets and Charlotte Bobcats both recently underwent re-branding efforts. The Hornets became the New Orleans Pelicans earlier this year, adopting a blue/red/yellow color scheme, and the Bobcats are set to become the Charlotte Hornets, with a teal and purple look, at the conclusion of this season.

Hat tip: HoopsHype

18 comments
PalmDos
PalmDos

Then do they change it back when his 15 minutes of fame are over?

JasonLeBel
JasonLeBel

Please, Please, PLEASE NO!


There's nothing wrong with Red & White (and Black), and Bluw & White might not be bad, if they change their name (to the Huskies. Although they said that the re-branding won't include a name change).

Raptors are Canada's Team, and the re-branding is suppose to make it more so (Leiwekehas said so). What does Black & Gold have to do with Toronto, or even Canada?


And Drake? I can't believe that they've hired him and are listening to his input.

RN506
RN506

I couldn't care any less if they wear pink jerseys with little dresses with bells on it long as they team is good, please..we want a winner... lol. I guess if they can win and have cool looking jerseys, that'll just be a bonus. 


Not much of a Drake fan, but can't argue that he's fairly popular around the globe. If he can bring in fans, get kids rocking the gear..give the team more appeal and more revenues then i'm all for it. 

NickWright
NickWright

If anything, they should get rid of the Raptors name. Jurassic Park came out a loooooong time ago. 

therednorth1
therednorth1

Toronto's official city colours are blue and white, so blue and white makes sense.  Blue and White are the official colours of all of Toronto's old sports teams--the Argonauts (1873), the Maple Leafs (blue and white since 1928), the Huskies (1946), and the Blue Jays (1977).  Even the University of Toronto Varsity Blues have worn blue and white since 1877.


The red that's shown up recently in Toronto uniforms is just some weak branding effort to try and spin the Toronto franchises as a national brand across Canada--Raptors (1995) and Toronto FC (2006).


Black and Gold is a fad.  Blue and White is a tradition.  Hopefully Leiweke knows the difference, because the people who chose the Raptors moniker didn't.

6marK6
6marK6

That would be bucking a lot of great Raptor tradition.....wait...

VonSwisha
VonSwisha

@PalmDos If you think Drake wont be around for awhile, you're sadly mistaken...

RN506
RN506

@MontyStanford Drake & the word thug have nothing what so ever to do with each other... if you hadn't noticed it's not 1994 any more. 

Papi Del Negro..... Dont ask
Papi Del Negro..... Dont ask

Drake is a perpetrator thug. Even worse than the average rapper. You cant be a part of Degrassi High and afterwards come off as a hardcore rapper. Thats like Justin Timberlake going from singing to sticking up liquor stores.. Its just not believable..lol

RN506
RN506

@NickWright I guess they should change the name of the Lakers too, not many lakes in Los Angeles. Not a lot of Jazz in Utah. 

NickWright
NickWright

@therednorth1 Black and gold is a fad? The Steelers, Bruins, Penguins and Pirates beg to differ. 

hapbarb
hapbarb

All the Pittsburgh teams' unis look black and yellow to me.