If there is one thing that Toronto FC can pride itself on since coming into MLS it is clever and innovative ways to make money through sponsorship. Whether it is the Bacardi Canada starting lineup, the ads that are displayed on the scoreboard at BMO Field or those read out over the loudspeaker,Toronto FC and advertising have always gone hand in hand.
That is why supporters were so surprised when Brazilian midfielder Jackson took to the field yesterday in Orlando without a BMO, the club's shirt sponsor, on the front of his kit. He may now hold the distinction of being the only Toronto FC player to ever play a match without BMO on his shirt.
From the moment this was discovered the jokes came in fast and furious: Jackson banks with RBC, Jackson has something against BMO, BMO has something against Jackson all avenues were explored. The real explanation is far more logical, and was outlined by Greg Vanney to media after the match.
In November of last year Toronto FC parted ways with their veteran and well liked kitman Malcolm Phillips. No official reason was ever given. Many supporters were quick to mention how under Phillips' watch this Jackson debacle would have never happened.
Vanney later apologized to BMO and acknowledged he did not know if there would be any resentment for this taking place. He did say, and quite rightly, that the game was more important than sponsorship and told media that he thought Jackson played well.
It somewhat unsurprising that there were a limited number of kits with BMO on the front. At least one Toronto Adidas location received their first shipment of authentic TFC kits without the sponsor on the front before pulling them off the shelves.
It could have something to do with the sponsorship bidding going late, as Waking the Red reported before the season that Pizza Pizza was also very much involved in the process. At the time our sources suggested to us that the Pizzeria would be the one displaying their logo on Toronto FC shirts.
Ultimately it is a bit of a non story, but represents a fun bit of Toronto FC trivia for a little further down the road. One would assume that should Jackson start next week against the Philadelphia Union they will have fixed the situation.