SBJ/October 8 - 14, 2001/This Weeks Issue

NBA expands All-Star voting

NBA corporate sponsors Sprite and AOL will underwrite the league's All-Star voting this season, along with Reebok and retailer Champs, which will distribute ballots in its 575 stores.

In adding its first retail distribution partner in four years and expanding its online presence, the NBA is tripling the number of ballots available. Last year, 4.95 million ballots were cast. With an expanded program, the league hopes to increase the number of ballots returned by at least 25 percent. An unprecedented amount of the league's media time will be used to support the voting, including promo spots on Turner and NBC NBA telecasts, rotational signs, national and local radio, nba.com, NBA.com TV, in-arena announcements and the NBA's print vehicles.

Sprite will push Web voting on 50 million bottles being distributed early next year, while Champs will have point-of-sale and print advertising support.

"This helps solidify our positioning of Champs as the place to go in the mall for licensed product and should help us move a lot of NBA licensed product for the holidays," said Rubin Hanan, Champs vice president of marketing.

Voting runs Nov. 1 to Jan. 14 in NBA arenas and online, and from Dec. 1 to Jan. 14 at Champs stores. Details of exactly where on its portal AOL will provide balloting have not been completed. Sprite and AOL will appear on paper ballots being distributed in arenas, while Reebok and Champs will share ad space on the retail ballots. Each will have a unique sweepstakes, still to be determined, while a common sweepstakes overlay will offer trips to the NBA's All-Star Weekend in Philadelphia Feb. 8-10.

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