SBD/June 6, 2013/Marketing and Sponsorship

Stern's Signature To Remain On Spalding's NBA Game Balls Through '13-14 Season

Spalding balls will feature Stern's signature until the '14-15 season tips off
Spalding said that its official NBA game balls will continue to "carry the former boss' name" for the remainder of next season after Commissioner David Stern retires on Feb. 1, 2014, according to Scott Soshnick of BLOOMBERG NEWS. Spalding said that game balls featuring the signature of NBA Deputy Commissioner & COO Adam Silver, who will succeed Stern next year, "will be used in games and available at retail outlets beginning with the 2014-15 season, at least six month after the leadership change." Univ. of Oregon Warsaw Sports Marketing Center Dir Paul Swangard said, "A new leader deserves a new ball. It's a missed opportunity for the manufacturer. It's a missed opportunity for cementing Adam in the role he will take on. It's really not in the spirit of how the NBA has marketed itself to date." Stern in an e-mail wrote that he "isn't concerned that the signature will be out of date when he steps down." Soshnick reports Spalding has created "at least one basketball with the 51-year-old Silver's name," and the ball is located at the NBA's N.Y. HQs. League Exec VP/Communications Mike Bass said that the NBA would "use a Silver-signed ball for the 2014 All-Star Game, scheduled for Feb. 16 in New Orleans." Spalding Senior Dir of Marketing Wendy Unger-Moore said that the target date for Silver-signed basketballs "to be available at retailers like the NBA Store and Modell's Sporting Goods Inc. stores is Aug. 1, 2014." Modell's CEO Mitchell Modell said that there "shouldn't be a problem if Stern's name appears on basketballs while Silver is the commissioner." He added, "I'd be in shock if anyone would even notice it. No markdown will be required" (BLOOMBERG NEWS, 6/6).
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