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With Sale Imminent, NBA's Charlotte Bobcats Fly Deal With US Airways

February 15, 2010: The NBA's Charlotte Bobcats have signed the first marketing deal with an airline in franchise history, naming US Airways as the official carrier of the team. Financial terms of the three-year alliance were not disclosed.

The deal comes as current team ownership is seeking a buyer for the franchise. The Bobcats are run by majority owner Robert Johnson, who acquired the team in 2003, with minority investors including Michael Jordan, who also oversees basketball operations. The NBA said that the team is expected to be sold within the next two months. Jordan has first refusal on any sale.

US Airways largest hub is Charlotte Douglas International Airport, and its headquarters also are in Charlotte, NC. The carrier also has official status with professional teams including the Philadelphia Eagles and Flyers, Pittsburgh Steelers, Carolina Panthers and Arizona Cardinals, and has naming rights to US Airways Center in Phoenix, home to the NBA's Suns.

The airline category has been very active over the past year in signing sponsorship deals with pro teams and athletes, led by JetBlue, American, Delta, Continental, United and AirTran.

Under the deal, US Airways will sponsor in-game promotions and contests for fans at Bobcats home games and have promotional scoreboard signage at Time Warner Cable Arena in downtown Charlotte. US Airways will also have client hospitality opportunities at Bobcats home games. The team also has deals with such companies as Anheuser-Busch, Coca-Cola, Lowe's, Wachovia and Nike's Jordan Brand.

"It’s a natural fit to pair up Charlotte’s hometown airline with the hometown team," Andrew Nocella, US Airways’ svp-marketing and planning, said in a statement. "Our partnership with the Charlotte Bobcats lets US Airways show our commitment to the Charlotte community and Bobcats fans everywhere.”

According to Fred Whitfield, Bobcats Sports & Entertainment president and COO, "US Airways is one of those remarkable companies with strong Charlotte ties, a sterling reputation and a global reach. Much like the NBA brand is able to export our city’s name and identity to a world-wide audience, US Airways has been doing that on Charlotte’s behalf for years, and that’s what made this such a perfect fit for both of us.”

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