A terrific match for Toronto soccer

JACK KAZMIERSKI

, Last Updated: 2:50 AM ET

It's next to impossible to talk about Toronto FC without bringing BMO Field into the discussion. The two seem perfectly suited for each other. Like the team, BMO Field is new and exciting, and a perfect home for Toronto's celebrated soccer club.

The relationship between BMO and Toronto FC has been in the works for years.

"Soccer is Canada's number one participation sport," says Sandy Bourne, vice-president of corporate marketing, BMO Financial Group. "We started talking with MLSE back in 2006 about soccer... and at the time there were over 850,000 Canadians registered to play soccer across the country. Today that number is in excess of 900,000."

With so many Canadians interested in playing and watching soccer, it made sense for BMO to sponsor Toronto FC.

"We looked at the numbers and thought it would be a great sport for us to get involved with," Bourne says. "When MLSE came to us with the Toronto FC and BMO Field opportunity, we decided soccer was a sport we wanted to get into and really own."

BMO Financial Group is the sponsor of BMO Field, which means they have the naming rights to the field. They're also the lead sponsor of Toronto FC, which gives BMO the jersey naming rights.

PUTTING THE FAN FIRST

For many corporations, having their logo plastered all over a stadium and players' jerseys would be enough. But BMO has taken the sponsorship idea one step further and figured out a way to make Toronto FC fans -- and BMO customers in particular -- feel special.

"The support Toronto fans have given Toronto FC is phenomenal, and we really want to celebrate the fans," Bourne says. "One of the things we're bringing back this year, because it's incredibly popular, is a magnet that has the Toronto FC schedule on it. Everyone loves these."

Toronto FC fans who are also BMO customers can expect to enjoy extra special perks this year.

"We launched a program called BMO Power of Blue with the Toronto Maple Leafs, and this year we're extending that program to Toronto FC fans," Bourne says.

BMO customers will be allowed to enter BMO Field through a special gate reserved just for BMO customers. There's also an exclusive box office for BMO customers, which allows them easier access to their tickets. BMO customers can also head to a BMO tent and get a free TFC gift every game day.

"And just prior to the kick-off at every game, we're going to select a BMO customer who will be brought to field level, will meet with team captains, and will participate in the official coin toss," Bourne says.

BMO is also launching a new website, BMOsoccer.com. Besides offering soccer information, the site will be home to a number of special contests. Awards include $500 to put toward an RESP, tickets to a home game and a trip for two to Chicago to see a Toronto FC game.

The bottom line -- if you're a Toronto FC fan, you might want to open a BMO account and take advantage of all the perks BMO Financial Group is offering Toronto FC fans this season.


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