By Barry Janoff
June 22, 2016: With the dust from the LeBron James-led Cleveland Cavaliers NBA title and championship parade having not yet settled, the league's roster of marketing partners are kicking up a storm of activation for the NBA Draft, scheduled for June 23 in Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY, and airing live on ESPN.
As Ben Simmons, Brandon Ingram, Dragan Bender, Jaylen Brown, Jamal Murray and other members of the incoming class of players prepare to hear their names called by NBA commissioner Adam Silver, such companies as American Express, Anheuser-Busch InBev, BBVA, Foot Locker, Gatorade, Harman, PepsiCo, Samsung, Spalding and Under Armour are supporting with a bevy of multi-media activations.
State Farm is presenting partner, which will activate behind its new “Here to Help Life Go Right” brand mantra. A multi-layer effort includes a new vignette series on NBA.com and league social channels featuring Draft candidates Denzel Valentine, Brice Johnson and Skal Labissiere; efforts to support NBA Cares and Boys & Girls Clubs; in-arena signage; and broadcast presence on both ESPN and NBA TV.
In addition to State Farm, official NBA partner brands with designations around the NBA Draft include Anheuser-Busch InBev, Gatorade, PepsiCo (Mountain Dew) and Verizon, all associate partners for the event.
The NBA itself kicked off the festivities during the NBA Finals with a spot, "Draft '16," part of the league's umbrella "This Is Why We Play" campaign. It takes viewers back to draft night last year to show how Karl-Anthony Towns, Kristaps Porzingis, Jahlil Okafor, Myles Turner and Frank Kaminsky reacted when they were called to the stage. It also goes back father to show the people who helped to shape the lives of these players.
Foot Locker this week unveiled two spots with Simmons, projected by many to be the No. 1 overall pick as selected by the Philadelphia 76ers (barring a trade), "It's Not Real Yet" and "It's Real Now," in which Simmons seeks and gets advice from Kia NBA Rookie of the Year Towns and 2015-16 rookies Devin Booker and D'Angelo Russell.
"We're thrilled to celebrate another NBA Draft with an elite player like Ben Simmons," Stacy Cunningham, evp-marketing for Foot Locker, said in a statement. "Featuring four awesome young talents in our Foot Locker Draft campaign speaks volumes to the brand during this marquee sports moment."
Other brands introducing new creative around the '16 Draft include BBVA, Harman and Spalding.
In addition to Foot Locker, partners using NBA Draft candidates as ambassadors include BBVA, Cisco, Spalding, State Farm and Under Armour.
Adidas has signed a group of players expected to be among high-ranking draftees, including Brandon Ingram, Jaylen Brown, Jamal Murray, Dragan Bender and Kris Dunn. According to adidas, they will be featured in upcoming marketing, activations and tours.
“Our playbook is simple — partner with the best players and use their insights to change the game and connect with young athletes,” Chris Grancio, GM for adidas global basketball, said in a statement. “It’s no secret that at adidas players have a voice to share ideas and insights that will create the best basketball gear in the world. We’re proud to welcome them to our family and we look forward to getting started.”
ESPN will have exclusive coverage on both TV and radio, as well as social media. Michael Wilbon will work alongside NBA Draft analyst Jay Bilas and NBA analyst Jalen Rose. Rece Davis will host TV coverage for the entire two rounds.
NBA Digital will provide extensive multi-screen coverage leading up to and following 2016 NBA Draft presented by State Farm. NBA TV's live and original programming — also featured across NBA.com and the NBA App — will provide in-depth content offerings with expert analysis and behind-the-scenes access as well as close looks at the top prospects for the upcoming draft.
With the first pick in the NBA Draft (barring a trade), the 76ers have united team marketing partners for a Draft Day party. Presenting partner is DFS site DraftKings, with on-site activation from such brands as Xfinity, Papa John's, Red Bull, Coors Light, Pepsi and StubHub, which recently signed a deal with the team for a jersey-front ad patch beginning with the 2017-18 season.
State Farm this past season moved past Anheuser-Busch as the most active sponsor of the NBA. Some 83% of NBA properties report a partnership with the insurance company, up from 74% the previous season, according to research and consulting firm IEG, Chicago.
Anheuser-Busch was active with 77% of NBA properties, followed by adidas and Gatorade at 70% each.
Among all brands, sponsorship spending on the NBA and its 30 teams reached a record $799 million in the 2015-2016 season, an 8.1% increase from $739 million the previous year, according to the NBA 2015-16 IEG Sponsorship Report.
Among the other activation prior to and during the NBA Draft:
American Express will host an exclusive hospitality experience for 140 card members, which includes a photo on the Draft stage and meet-and-greet with Karl-Anthony Towns.
Anheuser-Busch InBev will have in-arena branding and presence in Draft marketing materials.
BBVA will continue its ‘Bright Futures’ campaign and introduce three cross-platform vignettes featuring draftees Brandon Ingram, Jamal Murray and Buddy Hield.
Cisco will host Cisco TelePresence interviews for international media in several cities, including Melbourne (with Ben Simmons), Beijing and Sao Paolo.
Gatorade will have in-arena presence through branding (including spots on the jumbotron) and product (bottles on draftee tables); plus a “Sweat With The Best” promotion through a VIP fan experience including a photo with the entire class.
Harman will host a visit for their roster of JBL Draftees this week in its New York store. The company will debut the JBL Vine Booth to capture and share — via NBA Vine and Twitter — the picks’ early reactions and first ‘digital’ autographs (in real-time) and wear custom, hand-painted headphones featuring their respective team logos.
PepsiCo's Mountain Dew will have in-arena branding and presence in Draft marketing materials.
Samsung will host a sweepstakes via Samsung+ where one Samsung Galaxy owner will win a VIP Draft experience. In addition, NBA social will use Gear 360 cameras to capture and share 360-degree photos on NBA channels.
SAP will introduce an NBA Draft digital feature focused on NBA.com/stats and will have in-arena branding, including a stats trivia challenge and a 30-second pre-Draft spot on the jumbotron.
“Our playbook is simple — partner with the best players and use their insights to change the game and connect with young athletes."
Spalding, in conjunction with Slam Magazine, has unveiled a documentary, “Without a Doubt” featuring Draft candidates Kris Dunn, Tyler Ulis and Buddy Hield. The film is part of its #TrueBelievers campaign, which launched in February as a way to highlight competitors who have defied great odds to succeed, such as NBA stars DeMar DeRozan and Damian Lillard.
Tissot, the official timekeeper of the NBA, will be prominently featured on the on-stage Draft clock, which displays the amount of available time between each selection. Tissot will host a gifting suite ahead of the Draft to fit candidates for personalized watches, which they’ll receive shortly after they’re selected on Draft night (first-round selections). On the Barclays concourse, Tissot will host a photo booth featuring special basketball props. People will be encouraged to share their photos via social.
Verizon will have in-arena branding via logo integration and charging units throughout the venue, including concourse and back-of-house. In-arena, go90 will present a 90-second video highlighting the 1996 NBA Draft, which saw Iverson selected as the No. 1 overall pick by the Sixers (and Kobe Bryant No. 13 by Charlotte, then traded to the Los Angeles Lakers).
NBA Spot Anticipates 2016 Draft Class With 2015 Rookie Class
State Farm, A-B, Gatorade Lead NBA To Record $799M Sponsor Spend
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