July 1, 2010: Does Coca-Cola know something about LeBron James that the rest of the world doesn't? The beverage giant has launched a sweepstakes with its Sprite brand in conjunction with U.S. Brunswick Zone and Brunswick XL bowling centers that dangles for four grand prize winners the chance to compete head-to-head with James in bowling.
Marketing for the first "Bowling with LeBron Sweepstakes presented by Sprite," which runs now through Aug. 31, prominently features James in his Cleveland Cavaliers' No. 23 uniform. James has been a member of the Cavs since they drafted him out of St. Vincent-St. Mary High School in 2003, but he currently is a free agent and may not be a member of the Cavaliers when the sweepstakes ends.
Sprite is getting the word out via retail POP, Internet and at U.S. Brunswick Zone and Brunswick XL bowling centers across the country.
Among the teams seeking the basketball services of James, a six-time All-Star and two-time NBA MVP, are the Chicago Bulls, Miami Heat, New Jersey Nets, Los Angeles Clippers, New York Knicks and the Cavaliers.
Sprite, an official NBA partner with whom James has a marketing deal, has put the All-Star front and center of its sweepstakes campaign alongside the text: "You can't beat me on the court . . . but can you beat me on the lanes?"
According to Coca-Cola, James, whose nickname is "King James," is "an avid bowler [and] a natural choice for this sweepstakes." In fact, his mansion in Akron, Ohio, includes a bowling alley along with a theater, casino and barber shop.
Four grand prize winners will win a trip for two to meet and bowl with "Kingpin" James. Each grand prize includes round-trip air transportation for two, a two-night hotel stay and a $100 cash allowance. According to the rules, the event must take place between October-December 2010. In addition, more than 1,000 instant prizes will be awarded, including LeBron collector bowling balls and LeBron collector bowling pins.
Consumers can enter online or at any of the 90 U.S. Brunswick Zone and Brunswick XL bowling centers nationwide. (Full details here.)