OVO Athletic Centre

The OVO Athletic Centre (formerly BioSteel Centre) is a state-of-the-art basketball practice facility and home to the Toronto Raptors of the National Basketball Association. The facility was constructed at the west end of the grounds just west of Liberty Grand. It is operated by the team’s owner, Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment. The basketball training facility opened in February of 2016, coinciding with the NBA All Star Game held at Exhibition Place.

The building was designed by architectural firms Guernsey Architects and Baldwin & Franklin.  This two-storey 68,000-square-foot facility houses the team’s front office as well as two full size basketball courts, locker rooms, training and medical facilities, and a player lounge with a full service kitchen and dining room.

Another feature of the OVO Athletic Centre is a “technologically advanced cognitive operations centre” powered by IBM Watson.  Through interactive screens and mobile devices, Raptors management and operations professionals get a comprehensive view of all pertinent data, such as player information, team and league statistics, trade simulation and contract management.  The data and associated insights are visualized through an interactive conference table-top and curved wall of dynamic touch screens within the OVO Athletic Centre and also on mobile devices. 

The facility was originally named the BioSteel Centre after the corporate sponsor BioSteel Sports Nutrition Inc.  In 2019 the name changed to the OVO Athletic Centre strengthening the partnership between Toronto rapper Drake and the Toronto Raptors.  

In addition to the Raptors use of the OVO Athletic Centre, the facility is also used by community groups as well as featuring their own programming. The Welcome Toronto tournament is an invitational that is open exclusively to top tier Ontario Basketball Association teams. The event is an immersive brand experience that focuses on art, community and basketball.  

An artwork installation on the exterior northeast corner of the OVO Athletic Centre features five abstract basketball hoops fabricated from bent steel pipe and rolled steel sheet coated in polyurethane in orange by artist Niall McClelland.  McClelland explains his vision for the artwork: “The thinking behind the sculptures is create an impression of post-game detritus where a team of powerful players (ie. actual Raptors) tore through the court with the dominating strength of their play, leaving the court a twisted, snapped and wrangled ruin in their wake. The resulting effects of the sculptures will be eye catching, dynamic and interactive.”

For more information on the OVO Athletic Centre visit: NBA/Raptors

Sources: Wikipedia and NBA/Raptors