SBD/April 15, 2013/Marketing and Sponsorship

State Farm Kicks Off Multiyear Presenting Sponsorship Deal For WNBA Draft

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As the WNBA ramps up preparations for its 17th season with its annual Draft tonight, State Farm tips off a new sponsorship deal with the league. The insurance company signed a multiyear deal to be the presenting sponsor of the WNBA Draft, with signage at the event hosted on ESPN’s Bristol, Conn., headquarters. State Farm also will be featured throughout the broadcast on ESPN, which begins at 8:00pm ET, and is participating in a Draft microsite to tout its presenting partnership. Other elements of the deal include State Farm becoming the halftime show presenting sponsor for all nationally televised games on ABC and ESPN2 as well as the presenting sponsor for the monthly WNBA Community Assist Award. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. State Farm has been a sponsor of the NBA since ‘10 and previously has had team-specific deals in the WNBA before brokering the league-wide partnership. State Farm sponsorship exec Justin Reckamp said, “We always kept an eye on the WNBA and we really saw the great work that the W was doing in communities and in their local areas. We saw it as an opportunity to align two brands that really supported the local community.” Reckamp sees the partnership advancing State Farm’s reach within each market. “Insurance can be a hard conversation to have, and if we can pass into this area that these people are interested in and enhance their experience or provide them some time in their exposure to basketball related items and improve that experience for them, we become more relevant," he said. "It opens the door for us to have an insurance conversation in a context that they’re excited about and familiar about.” The company will still look to sign separate deals on the team level.

NEEDING ASSISTANCE: State Farm late last year debuted its “Born To Assist” campaign starring Clippers G Chris Paul, and the company plans to take a similar tone with the WNBA deal. Reckamp said, “In the WNBA, you’re still going to see that theme of the assist in the context of how the players, the team, the State Farm agent assist people around them every day.” The company is still in the process of finalizing plans for activation throughout the season.

WELCOME TO THE SHOW: Tonight's Draft not only will serve as State Farm’s debut with the WNBA, but also as a platform for the league to refresh its identity. In addition to the formal launch of the league's new logo, the WNBA will welcome three high-profile college stars in Brittney Griner, Elena Delle Donne and Skylar Diggins. WNBA President Laurel Richie said, “This Draft class has the potential to be absolutely game changing for the WNBA.” She added the league's new identity is "all about reflecting the athleticism and the diversity of the current WNBA player." Richie: "What I like to say is rather than rebranding, we really just refreshed and updated our logo.”
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