International Brand Architecture

Courtesy of Toronto Raptors and MLSE

This preseason, the Toronto Raptors played exhibition games in Rome and Madrid as part of the NBA's EA Sports European Tour. The choice of locations was particularly apropos for the Raptors, as one of their players, Andrea Bargnani, hails from Italy, while two others, José Calderón and Jorge Garbajosa, are from Spain.

The Raptors "localized" their uniforms for play in Rome and Madrid by modifying the colours on both shirts and shorts to match the red, green and white of Italy and the red and gold of Spain. Thus, we have a complex relationship in which the trio of stars, the Toronto Raptors as a whole, and the entire NBA are sold as cultural products back to Rome/Italy and Madrid/Spain, with the city acting as a cultural amplifier for the entire host country. Meanwhile, the "limited edition" uniforms also become valuable sign-commodities for consumption back in Toronto or wherever Raptor fans may currently be found.

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