By Mike Carson
SUMMERSIDE - Rogers Communications has signed a two-year title sponsorship agreement with the Summerside Storm of the National Basketball League of Canada.
The announcement was made before the student body at Three Oaks Senior High School Thursday morning.
Rogers' first move as the new title sponsor of the brand new team was to provide Islanders with 4,000 complimentary tickets to Rogers Slam Dunk Day. On Oct. 26 basketball fans will be courtside to witness all the excitement as the Summerside Storm take on the Saint John Mill Rats in the first game at Credit Union Place.
Susan Gordon, vice-president of marketing Services, said the move shows confidence in the team's future in Summerside.
"The announcement here today is the next layer of commitment because it goes beyond providing great services and great entertainment products that takes us to a level of community involvement," Gordon said. "It really is a way to give back to the communities where we live, where we work where we play. And I am more than thrilled to part of such a high quality, high caliber ownership team and to partner with them to bring a professional basketball team to Summerside. Rogers Communications is committing to a two-year title sponsorship deal for the Summerside Storm and the fact that we are committed to two years says a couple of things. We really believe that this is a great thing to bring to this community. We believe in the ownership team and we believe that the fan support will be here."
She said any successful business or any successful sports team needs a lot of things to make that happen.
"A team like the Summerside Storm needs a great ownership group," she said. "They've got that. They need a great coach. They've got that. They're going to put some great players on the court and they also need a strong fan base. They need strong community support and they need strong partners and that's where Rogers Communications come in."
She said Rogers Communications believes in the vision of the team and involvement in the community. The sponsorship agreement will enable Rogers to support the Storm's community involvement at schools, basketball camps and store locations in addition to game opportunities including contests and brand recognition, resulting in more excitement at home games for fans and players of the NBL.
"We want you all to be at the game," she told the students. "And to get you started with that the first pre-season game is going to happen on Oct. 26. I expect you all to be there because Rogers Communications is going to give you all free tickets to go. Actually, we've bought out every ticket so we're going to donate . . . tickets to that first game. We're going to reach out to all school basketball teams across the province and give the tickets away."
Along with the Island schools, coupons for the Rogers Slam Dunk Day will also be distributed to minor league basketball players, the Boys and Girls Club and other not-for-profit organizations in the Summerside area to be redeemed for tickets at the Credit Union Place.
"We are thankful for Rogers and their commitment to the Storm in our inaugural season," said team co-owner Darren MacKay. "We are eager to start shooting hoops and Rogers Slam Dunk Day is a great opportunity for as many people as possible to enjoy the memorable experience of a live Storm game."