Monday
Oct262009

NBA, Marketers Back In Play For 2009-2010 Season

October 26, 2009: Now that its referees have agreed to a new deal, with strong teams in most of its key markets and with all of its marketing categories covered for another season, the NBA is looking forward to what might be its most risk-free, predictable campaign in years.

The biggest marketing changes entering the season, which beings Oct. 27, is Taco Bell taking over for McDonald's in the QSR category and the departure of Toyota, with Kia now the league's sole automotive partner. Taco Bell also will replace Sony PlayStation as sponsor of the All-Star Game Skills Challenge, effective with the All-Star Game at Cowboys Stadium in Dallas this February.

Also new this season will be the first trading card sets from Panini, with Kobe Bryant as the face of marketing campaigns and boxes for the company's first season as an NBA partner.

"Our demographics are very attractive to marketers," said Mark Tatum, evp-marketing partnerships for the NBA. Tatum said that despite the challenging economy, "Activation from the NBA and its partners is absolutely up."

Kia is in its second year as presenting partner of "NBA Tip Off Week" but first as the league's sole automotive partner, and the company has responded with an aggressive an buy that includes extensive TV, print, online and experiential activation. Kia's media buy this week includes a new NBA-themed TV spot and "NBA Tip-Off presented by Kia Motors" integration on ESPN, TNT, NBA TV and regional cable programming; an NBA Tip-Off sweepstakes on ESPN.com, with the grand prize of tickets to the 2010 NBA Finals; Kia's Tip-Off graphic on both the NBA Twitter feed and NBA Facebook page; and a 13-market street team activation who will be giving away branded premiums including Tip-Off branded T-shirts and cinch bags.

"Social media [activation] is extremely important for us," said Tatum. "Our fans demand it, and our marketing partners understand how important it is to reaching thme."

New creative will break this week from such NBA partners as:

•  Nike's Jordan Brand with Dwyane Wade, Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul and Derek Jeter in a "Become Legendary" TV, print and Internet effort.
Pepperidge Farm to support its Flavor Blasted Goldfish Team Xtreme with a 30-second spot featuring D-Wade and Xtreme, the Goldfish character, which will air on Nickelodeon, Cartoon Network and the Disney Channel throughout the month of November; Sports Illustrated for Kids subscribers will receive their November issue ‘wrapped’ with an Xtreme and Wade advertisement about Team Xtreme;.
• HP retail and sweepstakes promotion, “Win in 7,” to support the upcoming launch of the Windows 7 operating system, HP events with NBA Legend appearances will take place at Best Buy locations in 7 markets (New York, Chicago, Atlanta, DC, Philly, Houston and LA) starting 10/24 and continuing for 7 weeks after. A national sweepstakes running on NBA.com/hp will launch 10/22 offering the grand prize winner a trip to NBA Finals 2010 and six first prize winners trips to NBA playoff games in 2010.
Nike, to support the release of the LeBron VII, will release a Playing with Heart video series that will focus on the seven principles of LeBron’s Game: Passion, Loyalty, Clutch, Pure Drive, Resilience, Humility and Magnetism.
Sprite and Regal Cinema, which this weekend unveiled a promotion in which consumers could win a trip to the All-Star Game in Dallas.

Among the partners that already have unveiled 2009-10 NBA-themed campaigns are adidas' “It’s On Me For My Brotherhood” campaign featuring Derrick Rose, Dwight Howard and it’s other NBA endorsers; EA Sports to support NBA LIVE 10 with cover athlete Dwight Howard; 2K Sports to support the 10th Anniversary Collector’s Edition of NBA 2K10, which features Kobe Bryant on  the cover; Got Milk? with a print ad featuring Denver Nuggets guard Chauncey Billups in Sports Illustrated, ESPN The Magazine and elsewhere; and Cisco, which launched Flip Video Diaries on NBA.com, which will run through Nov. 1 with branded content from five NBA players: Stephen Curry, Danny Granger, Andre Iguodala, Mike Bibby and Derek Fisher.

NBA media partners ESPN and TNT also have launched marketing campaigns for the 2009-10 season, as has the NBA.

To keep things interesting, familiar faces in new places include Shaquille O'Neal (now with the Cleveland Cavaliers), Ron Artest (Los Angeles Lakers), Allen Iverson (Memphis Grizzlies); Shawn Marion (Dallas Mavericks), Hedo Turkoglu (Toronto Raptors), Vince Carter (Orlando Magic) and Rasheed Wallace (Boston Celtics). No. 1 overall draft choice Blake Griffin already has had an impact with the Los Angeles Clippers as the new face of marketing and ticket sales.

"The focus is on the game, but we are always looking for new partners to enhance the marketing side," said Tatum. "We've had a tremendous response from fans around the world during the off-season and pre-season from player appearances and [exhibition] games. Now the 2009-10 season is here and we expect to have a great year."

D-Wade, C-Paul, Carmelo Anthony 'Become Legendary' For Jordan Brand

Why Dwight Howard, Derrick Rose Say 'It's On Me' In adidas Campaign

Cover Star Kobe Bryant Gets Starring Role For 2K's NBA10 Multi-Media Effort

Kobe Holds The Cards In NBA-Panini Trading Card Deal

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