SBD/Issue 237/Sponsorships, Advertising & Marketing

Li-Ning Signs Evan Turner To Multiyear Deal To Become Face Of Brand

Turner Will Have His Own Signature Li-Ning
Shoe In Time For '11-12 NBA Season

Li-Ning has signed 76ers G Evan Turner, the No. 2 pick in the '10 NBA Draft, "to a multi-year deal that will make him the face of the brand," according to Darren Rovell of CNBC.com. Turner "will wear Li-Ning for his rookie season and will immediately appear in the company's marketing." He will have his "own signature shoe and apparel, which will be available globally, in his second year" in the NBA. Li-Ning "established a base for its U.S. business" in Portland, "where it also has its flagship store." The company "has previously signed" Celtics C Shaquille O'Neal and Clippers G Baron Davis (CNBC.com, 8/23). The company also "signed a 3-year deal" with Grizzlies C Hasheem Thabeet "after he was drafted second" in the '09 NBA Draft. Li-Ning's U.S. campaign "had been built around" Davis (PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS, 8/24). Li-Ning Brand Initiative Dir for Basketball Brian Cupps said signing Turner is "monumental" for the brand. Cupps: "It shows that we're serious as an emerging brand here in the U.S. and the biggest thing is it has global implications." Cupps: "We're taking it slow here, really building the brand in the U.S. But more than anything, we're thinking globally as a brand and ... basketball is a great category to do it in. Certainly, Evan is a great addition to help us do that, to build our brand and continue to grow in China, but also introduce ourselves here in the U.S. market." Cupps noted Li-Ning currently is re-launching its brand with a new slogan, "Make the Chain." Meanwhile, Turner's agent David Falk said, "For Evan's goals of trying to have his own brand, have his own signature line and be global, this is really the right choice for him in the 21st century" ("Power Lunch," CNBC, 8/23).

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