By Barry Janoff
February 9, 2016: In what will be Kobe Bryant's final appearance as an All-Star, the NBA is ramping up for All-Star Game Weekend in Toronto and taking its marketing partners north of the border for the event.
Throughout the weekend and during the game itself, more than 25 league partners will activate behind the first NBA All-Star Game to be held outside of the U.S., Feb. 12-14.
NBA players star in creative from adidas, BBVA Compass, Canada Goose, Foot Locker, Kia, Mtn. Dew, Nike and Jordan Brand, Samsung, Spalding, State Farm, Taco, Tissot and Under Armour.
Other partners activating over the weekend include Cisco, Intel, JBL, Kaiser, Kumho Tire, Samsung, SAP and Mitchell & Ness, the latter having set up a pop-up location in Toronto.
On-air. Turner has media buys broom companies including Apple, Intel, Nike, Tissot and Verizon.
Leading up to All-Star Weekend, State Farm has taken The Hoopers — the brand's fictitious family in NBA marketing starring Chris Paul, DeAndre Jordan, Kevin Love, Kevin Garnett and Damian Lillard — on a cross-country road trip to seven American cities en route to Toronto.
A new spot with the dysfunctional entourage, "Droppin' Dimes," will break during the weekend. State Farm, presenting partner for All-Star Saturday Night, this past week also partnered with Turner on a custom spot featuring Reggie Miller.
Among BBVA Compass' NBA spokespersons are Kevin Durant, James Harden and San Antonio Spurs assistant coach and former WNBA star Becky Hammon. New spots fall under the umbrella theme, "Bright Futures."
Other BBVA Compass brand ambassadors, including Kawhi Leonard, Chandler Parsons and NBA legend Bruce Bowen will also star in the series.
The Kia K900 is driven by LeBron James, in commercials and, as the ads demand, for real. The just-released "Spaceship" will fly during broadcasts throughout the weekend.
Kia also gets major presence via a logo patch on the upper left chest of the All-Star jerseys from adidas. In addition, Kia is presenting sponsor for the All-Star Game MVP award.
Taco Bell will air its "Bigger Than" spot, which broke during Super Bowl 50 and stars, among others, James Harden and soccer icon Neymar Jr.
Four brands in their rookie season as NBA partners will seek to make an impact with fans, consumers and players.
Mtn. Dew is replacing Sprite as presenting brand for the NBA All-Star Celebrity Game (ESPN Feb. 12).
Mtn. Dew weekend activations will include the brand’s first Dew x NBA TV commercial, "Make An Introduction," featuring Russell Westbrook, Jimmy Butler, Julius Randle and SuperMascot Rocky.
Support includes outdoor and in-arena presence via linear and digital elements across TNT, NBA TV and NBA.com and an All-Star themed can featuring Russell Westbrook across Canada.
Verizon, which this season replaced Sprint as the league's official wireless provider, will support the Verizon Slam Dunk and NBA D-League Slam Dunk presented by Verizon with an All-Star themed sweepstakes promoting its Fios Triple Play package and custom content for go90 users to support NBA League Pass — featuring live-out of market NBA games — new to go90 beginning this month.
Tissot, in its initial season as the league's official timekeeper, arrives with NBA- and team-themed watch collections, a “Tissot Time Crunch” basketball contest and products in NBA Store pop-ups in Toronto.
Canada Goose has created custom coats for both East and West All-Stars. Brand ambassadors include Cory Joseph, Terrence Ross, John Wall and Karl-Anthony Towns.
Various players will make personal appearances throughout Toronto. Among them, Chris Bosh at Champs and Kyle Lowry at Lids.
In the NBA All-Star Celebrity Game presented by Mtn. Dew, among those scheduled to appear and/or play for Team Canada are Grammy Award-winning artist and Toronto Raptors global ambassador Drake, retired two-time NBA MVP Steve Nash, Raptors' DeMar DeRozan, Toronto Blue Jays All-Star José Bautista, two-time WNBA All-Star Tammy Sutton-Brown and tennis player Milos Raonic.
Team USA is scheduled to include actor/comedian and team head coach Kevin Hart, NBA All-Stars Russell Westbrook, and Andre Drummond, San Antonio Spurs Assistant Coach Becky Hammon, WNBA MVP Elena Delle Donne of the Chicago Sky, five-time NBA All-Star and ESPN analyst Chauncey Billups.
Among the scheduled events:
• NBA All-Star Celebrity Game presented by Mountain Dew
• NBA All-Star Entertainment Series presented by JBL
• NBA D-League All-Star Game presented by Kumho Tire
• NBA Fit Court presented by Kumho Tire
• NBA D-League Slam Dunk presented by Verizon
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