By Barry Janoff
The deal encompasses the NBA, WNBA, NBA Developmental League and USA Basketball, the latter of which will send a team of NBA players to the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
Harman said this would be its first official partnership with a pro sports league and that the marketing and consumer products partnership would focus on its JBL brand.
Financial terms of the deal were not shared.
"We have been in discussions with Harman for years and I'm glad we have finally made it happen," NBA commissioner Adam Silver said during a media event today (Sept. 17) in the Harman flagship store on Madison Avenue in New York. "This is my favorite new partnership."
NBA team- and player-branded JBL headphones and portable speakers are scheduled to hit retail this holiday season.
Harman said that marketing would include NBA-themed advertising, promotions and a sweepstakes.
None of this will include LeBron James, who has an investment and marketing deal with rival audio company Beats Electronics (headphones, speakers and audio software), which earlier this year was acquired for $3 billion. It's Beats by Dre division has been making major inroads into sports, with spokespersons that also include Colin Kaepernick of the NFL's San Francisco 49ers.
Another company, Skullcandy, has had deals with such NBA stars as Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and Derrick Rose.
This season, Harmon will presenting sponsor for the 2015 NBA All-Star Game Entertainment Series for the musical performances at the State Farm All-Star Saturday Night, which will take place Feb. 14 in Barclays Center, home of the Brooklyn Nets; and during pre-game introductions and the halftime show at the NBA All-Star Game, which will be played in Madison Square Garden, home of the New York Knicks, on Feb. 15.
Harman also will have a presence at the NBA All-Star Jam Session that weekend.
"Recognizing the convergence of music, sports, technology and entertainment, the NBA and Harman are ideal partners to develop powerful marketing programs and co-branded products that will engage and inspire a new generation of fans."
Harman's NBA activation is scheduled to begin during the NBA Global Games Rio 2014 next month in Rio de Janeiro, where the company said it would host several activities in the Fan Zone, including musical performances and the NBA Global Games viewing party.
In addition, the brand will have a presence at other marquee events across the NBA, WNBA, NBA D-League, and USA Basketball, including the Boost Mobile WNBA All-Star Game, NBA D-League All-Star Game and the USA Basketball Global Exhibition Tour.
“Harman is extremely proud to become the first official audio partner of the NBA and excited to elevate the NBA basketball experience for fans around the world wherever they enjoy the sounds of the game — at the arena, in their homes, in their cars, or on the go,” said Dinesh Paliwal, chairman, president and CEO for Harman. “Recognizing the convergence of music, sports, technology and entertainment, the NBA and Harman are ideal partners to develop powerful marketing programs and exciting co-branded audio products that will engage and inspire a new generation of fans.”
According to NBA commissioner Silver, “As a global leader known for creating and developing the best audio products on the market, we are honored to welcome Harman to the NBA family. This groundbreaking partnership showcases the intersection of technology and entertainment, and provides our tech-savvy fans with another way to further connect with their favorite team and players.”
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