News Release
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
DATE:
 March 12, 2003
CONTACT: Stefanie Zakowicz
716 635 5885

   
TOPS FRIENDLY MARKETS ENTERS INTO MARKETING PARTNERSHIP WITH THE TORONTO BLUE JAYS
Tops to be first retail ticket outlet in the United States for Blue Jays

WILLIAMSVILLE, N.Y. – Tops Friendly Markets and the Toronto Blue Jays have entered into a marketing partnership for the 2003 Major League Baseball season. The agreement is the first ever between Tops and the Blue Jays and is the first major marketing agreement that the Blue Jays have secured in the United States.

“Tops is very excited to be partnering with the Toronto Blue Jays as the team has a very strong local presence in our region,” Frank Curci, Tops President and CEO said. “Buffalo and Rochester are great sports towns and I am confident that fans throughout the region will want to take advantage of this great opportunity to visit Toronto and experience Major League Baseball.”

As part of the marketing partnership, tickets to all 2003 Blue Jays games will be sold at over 70 Tops locations throughout Buffalo and Rochester. Fans can begin purchasing tickets at Tops locations beginning on Saturday, March 15, 2003.

“The Blue Jays are thrilled to have the opportunity to partner with Tops. There are thousands of visitors to Toronto from Buffalo and Rochester each summer. Now they’ll have the ability to purchase their Blue Jays tickets before they make the trip.” said Paul Allamby, Senior Vice President, Marketing & Sales for the Toronto Blue Jays. “Tops provides the Blue Jays with great visibility and a convenient way for fans to purchase tickets. There is no better partner than Tops to help us build awareness of Blue Jays baseball in Buffalo and Rochester.”

As part of the marketing arrangement, the Blue Jays will provide special offers to the 1.2 million Tops Bonus Card members in the region. For instance, Bonus Card members will receive exclusive ticket offers by showing their Card when purchasing Blue Jays tickets.

The deal between Tops and the Blue Jays was brokered by East Aurora based Cenergy Sports & Entertainment. The Blue Jays recently retained Cenergy to develop marketing and advertising programs targeting the leisure traveling market in the Western New York region. Cenergy will manage the relationship between Tops and the Blue Jays.

Tops Markets, LLC is one of six retail-operating companies under Ahold USA, one of the leading supermarket operations in the U.S. Tops currently operates 156 Tops Friendly Markets, 212 convenience stores under the Wilson Farms, Sugarcreek and Tops Xpress banners, and 9 B-Kwik Food Markets in New York, Pennsylvania and northeast Ohio.

The Toronto Blue Jays were established in 1976 and began play in 1977 in the American League of Professional Baseball. In 1985, the Blue Jays won their first of five American League East Division Titles and in 1992 and 1993 won back-to-back World Series titles, becoming the first team outside the United States to win the World Series. In September of 2000, Rogers Communications Inc. purchased 80% control of the franchise with Labatt (Interbrew) maintaining 20% interest. Rogers Communications, headed by Ted Rogers, joins the ranks of North American communication companies such as Time Warner, Newscorp and Disney in their ownership of sports franchises.

For More Information: Will Hill John D. Cimperman Director, Public Relations President Toronto Blue Jays Baseball Club Cenergy sports & Entertainment (416) 341-1552 (716) 523-8805

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