SBD/April 16, 2012/Marketing and Sponsorship

WNBA Sponsors Boost, Jamba Juice Activating Around This Afternoon's Draft

The WNBA will hold its '12 Draft today at 2:00pm ET on ESPN's campus in Bristol, Conn., and several league sponsors will help mark the event with new activations. Boost Mobile, the WNBA's Marquee Partner, will serve as the presenting sponsor of the Draft. After signing on as a league sponsor midway through last season, Boost will have a presence at the Draft for the first time. In addition to traditional media and integration during the broadcast, Boost will have a presence on the WNBA website via the Boost Mobile Draft Board, which allows viewers to see updates on draftees, team picks and trades as they happen. The company is also sponsoring the Boost Mobile First Call Room, where newly-drafted players will go to make their first phone call to share news on which team they'll be suiting up for this summer. The league will film the phone calls and will air several vignettes on its website later this week. Jamba Juice has also signed on as an associate partner for the draft, and will sponsor some traditional media during the broadcast. In addition, the company is sponsoring WNBA.com's Prospect Profiles and will have some product sampling during this afternoon's event. Jamba Juice is returning as a full-season sponsor and plans to increase its partnership with the WNBA with activations at the league and team level throughout the season. The WNBA is coming off a strong sponsorship year, having welcomed eight new marketing partners during '10-11. WNBA COO Christine Godleski said, "It's too early to tell how much sponsorship has increased from last year to this year. Boost came on halfway through last year, we have people that come on for the start of the season and people that continue to come on as the season moves forward. ... [But] we believe we're on track to replicate that growth again." Godleski added, "At the team level, one of the things we’ve had some great success with is our marquee partners for the team. Boost is our league marquee and five of our teams have marquees. DC Mystics were the fifth one to join with a marquee -- Nova Health Systems in DC. That’s the big driver for last year."

GETTING TO KNOW YOU: Draft events began on Friday with rookie orientation at a hotel near ESPN's campus. The league and ESPN yesterday held a Fitness Day, which included two sets of clinics for ESPN staff, rookies, current WNBAers and their families. The morning "Rookies and Families Session" provided an opportunity for ESPN staff to meet and get to know the '12 Draft class. The program included a Q&A session moderated by ESPN's Cindy Brunson. The afternoon "All-Stars" session saw participants squaring off against current WNBAers for several basketball activities and fitness drills. The league and ESPNW this morning hosted an Inspiring Women brunch, attended by a number of ESPN content execs. The highlight of the event was the WNBA's "Draft Cab" game, modeled after Discovery Net's show "Cash Cab," which allowed network execs to get to know the draftees and their backgrounds. Brunson also emceed the brunch.
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