BMO solidifies its soccer sponsorships

The bank is expanding its presence on the pitch with a renewed sponsorship agreement with Vancouver Whitecaps FC, just in time for the team's inaugural MLS season.

BMO has bulked up its soccer presence by extending its support of Vancouver Whitecaps FC in time for the club’s entrance into Major League Soccer (MLS) in the 2011 season.

The new four-year partnership will increase the bank’s presence on the pitch, with the BMO logo prominent around Whitecaps games (BMO will not be the sponsor on the team’s uniforms; Bell will be). BMO is already the main sponsor of Toronto FC, and the naming sponsor of the team’s stadium, BMO Field.

The sponsorship builds on the bank’s commitment to be the ‘bank of soccer in Canada,’ Sandy Bourne, VP, advertising, sponsorship/events and merchandising, BMO Financial Group, tells MiC.

‘There are close to 900,000 Canadians involved in soccer, more than play hockey or figure skating or ringette,’ Bourne says. ‘It reaches out across the country. It’s very open and democratic, everyone can get out and play soccer, and it really does allow us to target families with kids, and that’s an important market with us.’

The bank will also be promoted in-game through the BMO ‘Power of Blue’ campaign, a carry-over from the Whitecaps pre-MLS seasons. That campaign runs during home games and gives BMO customers perks and privileges and the chance to win seat upgrades and unique experiences.

The sponsorship also gives the bank an opportunity to reach out to young people and their parents through its ‘Kickin’ with the ‘Caps’ program, which connects the team with youth soccer clubs across BC.

Though details haven’t been drawn up, Bourne says there will be advertising to promote the sponsorship leading up to the kick-off of the Whitecaps’ inaugural season.