SBJ/May 14-20, 2012/Leagues and Governing Bodies

Sponsorship Boost: Prepaid wireless brand adds new player awards program to marquee partnership

Boost Mobile is expanding its marquee partnership deal with the WNBA to title sponsor a new player awards program, a first for the league.

The prepaid wireless company begins its first full season as the WNBA’s sole marquee sponsor, a deal that puts the company’s logo patches on 11 of the WNBA’s 12 team jerseys, excluding only the San Antonio Silver Stars, a franchise that already had a wireless sponsorship deal in place prior to the league’s signing of Boost.

 
Boost Mobile, which presented last year’s playoffs, will have its name on WNBA uniforms and multiple events this season, including the draft.
Photo by: NBAE / GETTY IMAGES
The Boost deal, by far the league’s most comprehensive and lucrative deal, was signed last August and includes presenting sponsorship of the WNBA draft, this week’s season tipoff, the playoffs and the Finals, along with the WNBA All-Star Game, though this year the All-Star Game will not be played because of the Summer Olympics. Terms of the multiyear Boost deal could not be determined.

The company and the league this season are looking to further integrate the deal.

“We had our toe in the water last year and we used the offseason to map out a full season of engagement,” said WNBA President Laurel Richie. “The deal speaks to the power of the two organizations with a shared audience. [The jersey sponsorship] is an area where the WNBA has led the way for sports leagues, and we are proud of being the first.”

As for that increased activation, the company is putting the finishing touches on what will be the Boost-sponsored player performance awards, including the WNBA player of the week and the player of the month, along with postseason awards, including the league’s most valuable player award.

The company also is planning to include a fan sweepstakes offer related to the new awards sponsorship, though specifics of the promotion have not been finalized.

“It is a 2012 initiative, and what I like about this sponsorship is that are so many assets,” said Steve Gaffney, vice president of corporate marketing at Sprint, which owns Boost and in December signed on as a full NBA marketing partner.

In addition to its sponsorship of the WNBA player awards, Boost will roll out a WNBA-related in-store promotional program, though company officials did not disclose specifics.

“What you will see this year is point-of-sale offers wrapped in WNBA themes,” Gaffney said. “We are looking to activate in important battlegrounds in Chicago, Los Angeles, Atlanta and New York.”

Octagon assisted on Boost’s activation strategy.

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