BMO repurposes Toronto FC’s field for youth teams

The bank brings its professional and community sponsorships together as part of its brand mission to "grow the good."

BMO is using its long-time sponsorship of Toronto FC to build more engagement at the community level.

When the grass at BMO Field, Toronto FC’s home turf, was set to be replaced, the bank picked it up and replanted it at Keelesdale Park, which hosts numerous youth soccer games throughout the year. BMO is telling that story in a new spot, where a young soccer player gets inspiration from the moments that have taken place on the grass, such as Toronto FC’s Canadian Championship win last year, or winning the “treble” – the Canadian Championship, Supporters’ Shield and MLS Cup – in 2017.

BMO has been a sponsor of Toronto FC since its first season in 2005, but also sponsors over 20,000 youth soccer players across Canada. Jennifer Carli, VP of North American brand and enterprise content at BMO, says adding a layer of community involvement helps tie into the bank’s broader mission of “growing the good in business and life.”

“When we looked at our TFC sponsorship, we knew growing the good is not just about writing a cheque,” she says. “It’s about creating impactful actions with effects that will be felt for generations to come. How we bring this to the community level is by giving the kids of Toronto the opportunity to play soccer on the same grass where their heroes won a historic championship. It allows us to really bring our community and professional sponsorships together, and create stronger communities.”

Carli says BMO has been rooting its sponsorship portfolio in community involvement. Beyond the “Grass of Greatness” campaign, in the summer, BMO took the Montreal Impact’s old kits after a new version was unveiled, recycling them and turning them into soccer nets that were given to the city’s youth soccer clubs. Carli says it is also looking for other ways to expand its community program, namely when it comes to refurbishing public soccer fields.

“This brand purpose inspires us to take action and create meaning, but also injects a sense of urgency into the work we do,” Carli says. “I think it attaches more of a feeling of intention to our strategic priorities and our business goals. We do not believe that creating strong communities and helping our customers succeed is mutually exclusive to driving business. We see youth sports, in particular, as being really foundational, and we hope this inspires them to take part in a sport that will help them build and understand the values of teamwork, dedication and other crucial life skills.”

A 30-second version of the online video will be airing on TV throughout the Toronto FC season. FCB led creative, while UM handled the media buy.