SBJ/Feb. 14-20, 2011/Marketing and Sponsorship

AmEx, T-Mobile, BBVA lead NBA All-Star Game activators

Editor's Note: This story is revised from the print edition.

NBA sponsors are finalizing activation plans around Sunday’s All-Star Game in Los Angeles, offering a mix of special experiences and the ability for fans to be more closely involved in the event.

Among the new activations, American Express is back as a sponsor after a five-year league absence, and will serve as presenting sponsor of the “All-Star Entertainment Series,” a series of musical performances in and around the weekend. In some of the first activation around its renewed rights deal, AmEx is offering cardholders unique access to various sports and entertainment events, including meet and greets with musicians and NBA legends.

T-Mobile is sponsoring a “magenta carpet” event in accordance to its brand dress, which will be seen on NBA TV and the TNT All-Star pregame show on Sunday. The event will feature each all-star and a celebrity cast worthy of the game’s proximity to Hollywood. “The celebrity aspect of the weekend is a common theme, given the game’s location, and it is something many of our partners were looking for,” said Emilio Collins, senior vice president of global marketing partnerships. T-Mobile also is doing a retail promotion that includes appearances of NBA legends and ticket giveaways, and will title-sponsor the Rookie Challenge.

New sponsor BBVA will serve as title sponsor for the celebrity game on Friday night and will be running a significant hospitality program for its European executives and clients.

With expanded rights, Kia, an NBA partner since 2008, is now presenting sponsor of the All-Star Game MVP Award and the game broadcast. The All-Star Saturday Night broadcast will again be presented by State Farm.
There are a number of programs designed to offer fans more inclusion — and say — in the game. They include Taco Bell’s program that allows fans to vote for who participates in the All-Star Skills Challenge that the restaurant title sponsors. Kia supports a promotion that allows fans to account for 25 percent of the game’s MVP vote, while T-Mobile again attached its name to fan balloting. Sprite returns to allow fan input to the Slam Dunk contest results.

“We’ve been working to make fans feel they are more a part of the whole All-Star process,” Collins said.
The league will continue its Day of Service on Friday during All-Star Weekend. Sponsors including BBVA, Kia, State Farm and Haier are supporting.

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