By Barry Janoff
February 17, 2013: Kevin Durant and James Harden, who were teammates on the Oklahoma City Thunder for three seasons before Harden was traded to the Houston Rockets prior to the 2012-13 NBA campaign, are back together on the same team.
Both Durant and Harden were on the 2013 Western Conference All-Star squad in the game played Sunday night (won by the West) that culminated three days of activities and activations in Houston. But the reunion of Durant and Harden will have a longer-lasting impact.
Harden was not traded back to OKC, and Durant was not sent packing to the Rockets. Instead, the two players will be a marketing tandem for BBVA Compass, the official bank of the NBA.
BBVA Compass, which had a significant presence during the NBA All-Star Weekend in Houston this past weekend, has signed Durant and Harden to global, multiyear deals as brand ambassadors for the bank and to appear in multi-media marketing. Financial details were not disclosed,
Initial activation included on-site presence in Houston and in the Toyota Center, site of the NBA's All-Star Game. Both Durant and Harden were promoting BBVA's just-launched NBA Banking, through which consumers can apply for such amenities as an NBA-themed checking and savings account, NBA-team customized check card and earn rewards for NBA items. For example, three qualifying online bill payments from an NBA checking account within a 90-day period earns a $100 NBAstore.com electronic gift card, according to BBVA Compass.
Marketing includes a dedicated micro-site, a Twitter hash tag (#realfan) and an Instagram destination where people are encouraged to post photos that display their “fandom.” That also makes them eligible to win tickets to every game during the NBA Finals this June. (Full details here.)
BBVA Compass is currently running a generic NBA-themed TV spot but plans to have a Durant-Harden spot launch soon. The campaign with the two players is scheduled to run through the end of the year.
According to the financial firm, NBA Banking "leverages the bank’s digital platforms to expand beyond its geographic footprint and capitalizes on its role as the official bank of the NBA in the U.S. to reach fans and customers nationwide." NBA Banking accounts must be opened online and can be maintained online or with a smartphone using the bank’s mobile app. NBA Banking allows customers to conduct almost any banking transaction without visiting a branch, according to BBVA Compass.
During NBA All-Star Weekend, BBVA was presenting sponsor of the Rising Stars Challenge that featured two teams comprised exclusively of rookies and sophomores, had a booth at the fan experience Jam Session and worked with the NBA by hosting Houston-area students in a group session designed to improve their reading and math via the NBA Cares program and basketball skills through NBA Fit.
“Consumers want the same convenience in banking they find in other industries, and that’s exactly what this new account offers: banking anywhere, anytime and using a device they choose,” Manolo Sánchez, president and CEO of BBVA Compass, said in a statement. “But what truly sets it apart is that the experience is as much about the NBA as it is about banking.”
“Sports is about passion, and this is a way to tap into that. NBA Banking is . . . a way for fans to show their team pride and love for the game.”
BBVA Compass, which has been an official sponsor of the NBA since 2010, also has title sponsorship for college football's BBVA Compass Bowl, and last year opened BBVA Compass Stadium, home of Major League Soccer's Houston Dynamo.
“Sports is about passion, and this is a way to tap into that,” Sánchez said. “NBA Banking is more than just a way to bank. It’s a way for fans to show their team pride and love for the game.”
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