SBD/December 21, 2011/Marketing and Sponsorship

Eastern Promises: Heat Sign Marketing Deal With Chinese Beer Tsingtao

Tsingtao will send members of Passion Dancers to perform with Heat dance team
The Heat yesterday announced a multiyear marketing partnership with Chinese beer company Tsingtao, but it is "clear the agreement with Tsingtao ... is much more than another sponsor putting its name on signs at AmericanAirlines Arena,” according to Craig Davis of the South Florida SUN-SENTINEL. Tsingtao as part of the agreement “will send several members of their Passion Dancers to perform with the Heat dance team this season.” The Tsingtao Passion Dancers Competition is “the highest-rated TV show in China, drawing more than 100,000 aspirants.” Tsingtao President Sun Mingbo said that the company “was drawn to partner with the Heat because of their star power and championship potential.” Davis notes the Heat's visibility in China “has grown” since Fs LeBron James and Chris Bosh joined G Dwyane Wade in Miami last offseason. All three played in the ’08 Beijing Games and “have returned to China on promotional tours.” Heat F Shane Battier also “is well known there because he played” with former NBAer Yao Ming in Houston, and Battier also “has an endorsement deal with Chinese sportswear company Peak.”  Meanwhile, Davis reports the deal could be a prelude to a Heat exhibition tour as soon as next year.” Heat President of Business Operations Eric Woolworth said, "We're not in control of that, the NBA is. But we have every reason to believe that we are high on the list of teams that they'll be inviting over to China, if not next year certainly soon" (South Florida SUN-SENTINEL, 12/21). The SOUTH FLORIDA BUSINESS JOURNAL’s Oscar Pedro Musibay noted the partnership is “mainly for TV visibility, both in the U.S. and in China.” Heat VP/Corporate Partnerships Chris Maragno said that the team “began exploring partnerships with Chinese corporations about a year ago, around the time the team added James and Bosh to the team, after learning their games were broadcast there.” He said that the Heat, which “has an existing endorsement deal with a Chinese watchmaker, would continue to explore partnerships in the future” (BIZJOURNALS.com, 12/20).
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