Thursday
Feb172011

NBA Using All-Star Stage In Los Angeles To Hype WNBA's 15th Season

By Barry Janoff, Executive Editor

Candace Parker sports a Sparks jersey with Farmers Insurance logo in new ad.February 17, 2011: Farmers Insurance, which recently unveiled plans to sign a 30-year naming rights deal valued at upward of $700 million for an NFL-centic stadium being planned for Los Angeles, continues to flex its muscles in the sports category.

The Los Angeles-based company said that it has renewed and expanded its alliance with the Los Angeles Sparks of the WNBA. The new deal builds on a pact formed in 2009 that includes jersey-front branding.

Financial terms of the new deal were not disclosed.

Separately, the WNBA said it would unveil a promotional spot as part of its "Basketball is Basketball" campaign on Feb. 20 during the NBA All-Star Game on TNT. The game is being played at Staples Center, home to the Sparks and the NBA's Lakers and Clippers.

The 30-second spot, created by NBA Entertainment, supports the WNBA's 15th season, scheduled to begin in June. In the spot, the WNBA focuses on "the skill and athleticism elite players bring to the game at the professional level and highlights extraordinarily skilled athletes, intense competition, passion for the game, and the power of team work." Players featured include Sue Bird, Tamika Catchings, Becky Hammon, Candace Parker, Cappie Pondexter and Katie Douglas. NBA All-Stars Kevin Durant and Dwight Howard make cameo appearances.

After Sunday, the spot will go into regular rotation this summer on ABC, ESPN, ESPN 2 and NBA TV.

As in previous seasons during All-Star Saturday Night, the Haier Shooting Stars competition will feature WNBA players on teams with current NBA players and NBA legends.

Farmers Insurance will be part of its third WNBA campaign with increased activation and marketing. In addition to its logo on Sparks game uniforms, the Farmers logo will appear on team shooting shirts, in-arena signage and on the Staples Center court.

Sparks’ advertising, the team’s official Web site, tickets and pocket schedules will now feature the Farmers’ logo. The relationship extends to cross-promotion via the social media platforms of both Farmers and the Sparks.

Farmers also said it would play a "proactive role in the Sparks’ community relations endeavors," including youth basketball clinics, health and wellness outreach and the WNBA’s Inspiring Women campaign, developed leaguewide to celebrate the achievements of women in all walks of life.

“Farmers is proud to renew our sponsorship of the Los Angeles Sparks,” Faye McClure, Farmers vp-strategic marketing, said in a statement. “Supporting women’s basketball and championing women’s issues is an inherent component of Farmers philosophy.”

According to Christopher Granger, NBA evp-team marketing and business operations, "With the WNBA celebrating its historic 15th season this summer, we are pleased that an outstanding brand in Farmers Insurance will continue its alignment with one of our most accomplished franchises in the Los Angeles Sparks. This partnership has been a tremendous success since 2009, broadening both organizations' reach to WNBA fans and to the community as a whole.”

"This partnership has been a tremendous success since 2009, broadening both organizations' reach to WNBA fans and to the community as a whole.”

Other WNBA teams that had jersey-front sponsors last season were the Seattle Storm (Bing), Phoenix Mercury (Lifelock) and the New York Liberty (Foxwoods).

“We are elated to have a community leader such as Farmers Insurance serve as the presenting partner of the Los Angeles Sparks,” said Sparks president Mike Levy. “We look forward to further connecting our brand and our fans with Farmers, and consider this partnership a cornerstone of the Sparks' success."

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